Second poll shows Merkel's CDU without majority
8 September 2005, BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats posted big gains in a second opinion poll in two days Thursday, confirming gains for his Social Democrats following a weekend TV debate with challenger Angela Merkel.
8 September 2005
BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats posted big gains in a second opinion poll in two days Thursday, confirming gains for his Social Democrats following a weekend TV debate with challenger Angela Merkel.
Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) picked up two points and are now at 34 per cent, said the ARD TV poll. The chancellor's ruling SPD-Greens coalition would now have 41 per cent.
This mirrors the weekly Stern magazine/RTL TV poll released Wednesday which showed a three point rise for the SPD and also gave the centre-left coalition 41 per cent.
Merkel's Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) is down two points to 41 per cent. Together with her Free Democratic Party (FDP) partner a centre-right coalition is at 47.5 per cent and no longer has a majority.
The Stern/RTL poll also showed Merkel's bloc has lost its majority and would now win 48 per cent.
ARD said the shift in favour of Schroeder was clearly due to last Sunday's TV debate between Merkel and Schroeder which was seen by a record 20 million people.
Some 47 per cent of the people ARD surveyed said Schroeder had won, compared with just 30 per cent viewing Merkel as the winner.
Worryingly for Merkel, she has also lost her lead key policy areas over Schroeder.
The ARD poll showed a tie on who would do better on tax policy with 35 per cent backing each candidate. One week ago 42 per cent said Merkel would be better compared to 23 per cent for Schroeder.
In a further poll shift, the Left Party, a new merger of former East Germany's communists and a western German protest movement was down in both polls with the ARD survey giving it 8.5 per cent and the Stern/RTL poll putting it at 8 per cent.
Results like these 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 both polls show 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.
But it also reflects the great differences in the SPD which has a smaller left-wing which might support such a step but a larger moderate and bloc which would likely be strongly opposed.
Subject: German news