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Popularity of Christian Democrats Continues to Rise

The gap in popularity between Chancellor Gehard Schröder's governing coalition and the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) continues to grow. According to a weekly poll conducted by the German weekly news magazine Stern and the RTL television station, the CDU's popularity is up two percent compared to last week, with 49 percent of the population saying they would vote for them. Meanwhile, Schröder's social democrats are down 1 percent, to 25 percent. Also reflected in the poll, the name recognition of Horst Köhler, the CDU candidate proposed to take over for retiring German president Johannes Rau, has significantly increased since last week. While only 20 percent of Germans knew who he was a week ago, that figure has risen to 34 percent.