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Billboards with election campaign posters showing the three chancellor candidates in the September 26 federal election
Olaf Scholz topped approval rating polls after September's vote, albeit not eclipsing the woman he hopes to replaceImage: John Macdougall/Getty Images/AFP

Germany: Survey shows favor for Scholz amid coalition talks

Alex Berry
October 7, 2021

As the parties continue talks with their sights set on forming a new coalition government, support for the SPD's Olaf Scholz has continued to grow among German voters, according to a new survey.


The Social Democrats chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz is enjoying high levels of support in the two weeks following Germany's parliamentary election, according to infratest dimap's monthly Deutschlandtrend poll.

59% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the center-left party leader. However, he still fell behind outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, from the center-right Christian Democrats, who logged 68% either satisfied or very satisfied.

Armin Laschet, the current leader of Merkel's CDU party, saw his support fall even more after his party came second in the September election. Only 14% of respondents said they were satisfied with the current state premier for North Rhine-Westphalia. Over 80% of respondents said they were less or completely unsatisfied with him.

Infografik Deutschlandtrend Politikerbewertung EN

And what about the chancellor candidates head to head? 

The support for Scholz as a potential chancellor for Germany was high among the supporters of the left-leaning parties — the Greens and the Left (Linke) party. Even 50% of respondents who said they were supporters of the center-right bloc said that Scholz would be a "good chancellor."

Infografik Deutschlandtrend Bewertung Scholz EN
Scholz even found some support among voters from parties far away from his SPD ideologically

For Laschet, on the other hand, the ratings were less than positive. Around 90% of respondents who said they were supporters of the Greens, Left party, Social Democrats, or far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), said that Laschet would not be a good chancellor.

Only 38% of supporters for the CDU, or its sister party the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), said their candidate would make a good chancellor.

Infografik Deutschlandtrend Bewertung Laschet EN
Even CDU/CSU voters seem to have soured on the idea of Laschet as an individual becoming chancellor

Coalition preferences

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of supporters for Scholz's center-left SPD said they would prefer a coalition government led by the SPD. There was also a clear majority for an SPD-led coalition from supporters of the Greens and Left party.

Some 20% of CDU/CSU supporters were also in favor of an SPD-led coalition government — which could still include the conservatives in theory but currently appears unlikely to — in comparison to 75% in favor of a CDU/CSU led-government.

Infografik Deutschlandtrend next leadership EN
Overall, almost two in three said they would prefer the SPD to lead the next coalition

The business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) who have been in talks with the SPD and the Greens, about forming a three-party coalition government, were less decisive. A little over half of the respondents who were supporters of the FDP said that they would prefer an SPD-led government, with more than a third pointing instead to a conservative-led coalition.

The FDP has expressed a willingness to form a coalition with both the SPD and the CDU, albeit making clear they're a better ideological fit with the conservatives. Party leader Christian Lindner said soon after the vote that tax increases would be red line for his party, and that he was wary on public borrowing, but he did not seek to rule out Scholz's main economic proposal, increasing the minimum wage to €12 (almost $14) per hour. Scholz has since said that policy is non-negotiable for any SPD-led coalition.

Satisfaction can be relative

Despite the record results for the Green party, the SPD was the only party whose supporters were generally satisfied with the outcome of the election.

Almost 70% of SPD-supporting respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the results, in comparison to just 50% of Green party supporters.

A clear majority of respondents from the Left, CDU/CSU or AfD parties were rather dissatisfied with the outcome of the vote. The Left party suffered one of its worst elections, only just qualifying for parliament, while the AfD saw its support drop from 12.6% to 10.3%.

The CDU/CSU also saw its worst election result since 1945, though still it was second, and less than two percentage points behind the SPD.

Infografik Deutschlandtrend Zufriedenheit Wahlergebnis EN
Satisfaction with the results as measured across party showed the differences in expectations; second place was seen as a debacle for the usually-dominant CDU/CSU, while Left Party voters just seemed relieved to have clung to their seats in the Bundestag
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