Merkel’s Challenger Leads Social Democrats to German Poll Boost

By Earnest Jones, The Goldwater · 02-02-2017
Photo credit: Alexandru Dobre | Dreamstime.com

The support for Germany’s Social Democrats has jumped to the highest level in almost four years in a poll that underscores the party’s revival after it picked Martin Schulz as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s election challenger.

The SPD has climbed five percentage points to 26 percent after its choice of the former European president as the ideal candidate to unseat Merkel. The climb is the highest since the last election in 2013. Reports from the weekly Forsa poll that was published on Wednesday indicate that the chancellor’s Christian Democratic-led bloc slipped two points to 35 percent.

All polls suggest that Merkel’s bloc will win majority of votes. However, Schulz’s surprise candidacy is mobilizing support for a party that’s trailed her for more than a decade ahead of the Sept. 24 election. Schulz has emphasized that he’ll run on a platform of reducing inequality and easing austerity in the euro area. Nevertheless, he has not ruled out allying with the opposition Green and the anti-capitalist Left parties to lead a government and break out of the SPD’s role as Merkel’s junior.

The managing director of Berlin-based Forsa made a statement on Wednesday in which he said that a portion of former SPD voters who had joined the ranks of non-voters or the undecided have now found their way back.

In a statement made by Frankfurt, an analysts with the Deutsche Bank, there’s likelihood that Schulz’s nomination is likely going to push the SPD’s campaign but unlikely to derail Merkel. If SPD is going to alter Germany’s electoral math, about 7 percentage points or more will be fundamentally needed. However, if the Social Democrats boost their support enough to deny Merkel a possible alliance with the Greens, Schulzz will not resist joining Merkel as pointed out by analysts Barbara Boettcher and Dieter Braeuninger.

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