Schroeder gains from tsunami crisis management

12th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2005 , HAMBURG - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition, which has lagged in polling since narrowly scraping back to power in 2002, is level-pegging with opposition parties for the first time in more than two years, an opinion pollster said on Wednesday. The Forsa poll, conducted for Stern magazine and RTL television, showed Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) and their Green allies likely to gain 45 percent support if an election were held immediately, with voters impressed at Berlin's

12 January 2005 

HAMBURG - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition, which has lagged in polling since narrowly scraping back to power in 2002, is level-pegging with opposition parties for the first time in more than two years, an opinion pollster said on Wednesday.

The Forsa poll, conducted for Stern magazine and RTL television, showed Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) and their Green allies likely to gain 45 percent support if an election were held immediately, with voters impressed at Berlin's disaster management.

Voter backing for the Christian Democrats, whose support has sagged during months of bickering, and their most plausible ally, the Free Democrat Party (FDP), sagged to a similar 45 percent, Forsa said.

The poll used 2,501 respondents and had a calculated accuracy to plus or minus 3 percent.

Voters turned sour with Schroeder soon after his election win, and support for the SPD plunged to record lows for modern Germany, with only one quarter of voters backing the centre-left party.

The two opposition parties were regularly claiming 50 percent support in Forsa and other polls right up to mid-2004.

Hamburg-based Stern said many of 1,001 respondents in an additional survey spoke in praise of the Schroeder government's steady hand after the 26 December tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed hundreds of German tourists and caused a humanitarian crisis.

Some 49 percent found the government's response satisfactory and 35 percent said it was "very satisfactory".

Many analysts have said the Schroeder government was helped back to power in September 2002 by voter perception that it showed swift leadership in bringing relief to eastern Germany after disastrous summer floods that year.

The political-preferences poll put SPD support at 35 percent, Green support at 10 per cent, the CDU at 38 percent and the FDP at 7 percent. Small parties took 5 percent. The rest said they did not know.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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