Merkel loses poll pole position for first time

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The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has moved ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) for the first time since she took office in 2005, a new opinion poll indicates.

The SPD, the main opposition party, was credited with 32 percent of the vote against 31 percent for the CDU/CSU, suggests the poll by the Allensbach Institute to be published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday.

Two other recent opinion polls by the Forsa and Dimpa institutes put the parties neck-and-neck around 30 percent of the vote.

The Allensbach survey put support for the Greens at 17 percent, the Liberal LDP party -- Merkel's government coalition partner -- at six percent and the radical leftist Die Linke at 8.5 percent.

Merkel's CDU/CSU and their Liberal partners have amassed a collection of quarrels since taking office last autumn, with their popularity consequently sliding.

© 2010 AFP

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