The world financial crisis may be helping the Democrats in the US, but in Germany it's the conservatives who are benefitting. So why are Germans giving the CDU and not Social Democrats most of the credit?
Germans credit Merkel, and not the SPD, with responding well to the crisis
A poll published in the weekly news magazine Stern on Wednesday, Oct. 22, suggests that last week's 480-billion-euro ($650 billion) bank bailout plan has paid political dividends for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.
37 percent of those asked said they supported Merkel's CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU. That's two percent more than a week previously.
The head of the FORSA institute, which carried out the poll, said the bailout plan was probably the reason for the slight increase in the conservatives' popularity.
Bayern LB is one of the banks that will benefit form the bailout
"It was exactly what people wanted to hear and expected," FORSA head Manfred Guellner told the online version of S tern.
The Social Democrats, who serve as the junior members of Merkel's grand coalition, did not get a comparable bounce -- even though Social Democratic Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck was one of the principal architects of the rescue plan.
"He's perceived more as Merkel's assistant than the person who directed things in the background," Guellner said.
Support for the SPD remained level in the poll at 24 percent.
Some Germans may be overlooking Steinbrueck's role in the bailout plan
But the numbers published Wednesday weren't all good news for the conservatives.
Support for the free-market oriented Free Democrats, the CDU-CSU's preferred coalition partners, dropped one percent to 12 percentage points in total.
Meanwhile, the opposition Left Party also picked up one percentage point in the poll.
The poll also reflected a slight -- but only slight -- improvement in Germans' overall view of the economic situation.
14 percent of those asked said they were optimistic. That was up three percentage points from the week before.
But the overall mood in the midst of the global financial crisis remains gloomy. 59 percent of respondents said they were pessimistic about Germany's general economic outlook.