SPD poll boost after debate - Merkel loses majority
7 September 2005, BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats posted big gains in an opinion poll Wednesday which for the first time in weeks showed challenger Angela Merkel's conservative bloc without a parliamentary majority.
7 September 2005
BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats posted big gains in an opinion poll Wednesday which for the first time in weeks showed challenger Angela Merkel's conservative bloc without a parliamentary majority.
Merkel's Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) still leads with 42 per cent, said the weekly Stern magazine/RTL TV poll.
But her designated coalition of CDU/CSU with the Free Democrats (FDP) would now only have 48 per cent, said the poll. Both the CDU/CSU and the FDP lost one point since last week.
Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) were up three points to 34 per cent, the poll showed. The ruling SPD-Greens government would currently win 41 per cent.
The shifts follow last Sunday's televised debate between Merkel and Schroeder - seen by a record 20 million people - which most viewer surveys showed the Chancellor won.
In a further poll shift, the Left Party, a new merger of former East Germany's communists and a western German protest movement is also down a point to 8 per cent.
These overall results, if confirmed in Germany's September 18 general election, would make it likely that Merkel will seek to set up a grand coalition with Schroeder's SPD as junior partner.
Schroeder and other SPD leaders have vowed not to set up a leftist government comprised of his SPD-Greens plus the Left Party, an alliance which the poll shows would now be ahead of Merkel.
This is partly due to the Chancellor's intense dislike for a rebel former leader of his SPD and ex-finance minister, Oskar Lafontaine, who is a co-leader of the Left Party.
Subject: German news