German Social Democrats widen lead over Merkel’s bloc in poll

Olaf Scholz, chancellor candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), speaks during an election campaign rally in Berlin, Germany, on Aug 16, 2021. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)

Germany’s Social Democrats opened a record 5 percentage-point lead over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc in a weekly poll that underscores their momentum in the contest to lead the next government. 

Support for the SPD rose 1 point to 25 percent in the Insa poll, while Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-based CSU affiliate declined 1 point to a combined 20 percent, matching the numbers for both sides in at least two other polls this week. It was the CDU-CSU’s fifth consecutive week of decline in Insa’s polling.

Support for the SPD rose 1 point to 25 percent in the Insa poll, while Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-based CSU affiliate declined 1 point to a combined 20 percent

With Merkel no longer in the running, the conservatives may be headed for a stunning collapse that opens the door for a government led by Social Democratic candidate Olaf Scholz, the finance minister in Merkel’s government. Four years ago, the CDU-CSU took almost 33 percent of the national vote, setting up Merkel for a fourth term. 

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The Green party fell 1 point to 16 percent and the Free Democrats were unchanged at 13 percent, according to the poll for Bild am Sonntag. The nationalist Alternative for Germany rose 1 point to 12 percent.

With German politics fragmented ahead of the Sept 26 election, the polls suggest that Europe’s biggest economy could be headed for a coalition government comprising an unusually disparate group of parties.

Scholz and the Christian Democratic and Green contenders for chancellor will face off in the second of three nationally televised debates on Sept 12.

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