Greens bleed support, SPD steady, Merkel looking up | News | DW | 19.04.2017
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Greens bleed support, SPD steady, Merkel looking up

The Greens are polling at their lowest in 15 years. That has dimmed hopes that a left-leaning coalition could unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel in September's election.

Two polls showed Germany's Greens slipping to just 6 percent support - somewhat dampening hopes that a center-to-left coalition might emerge from September's federal elections. Even more important for the Greens is that their party hovers just above the 5 percent needed to enter the national parliament, according to the pollsters Forsa and Insa. The numbers have become the latest bad news for voters who had hoped to replace Germany's middle-of-the-road grand coalition with a three-party bloc comprising the Social Democrats (SPD), Left and Greens on September 24.

In one poll, the Greens, who currently hold 63 seats in the Bundestag, or exactly 10 percent of the lower house of German parliament, have even fallen behind Chancellor Angela Merkel's erstwhile coalition partners, the resurgent Free Democrats (FDP), whom voters drummed out of the Bundestag in 2013. According to Insa, which polled 2,038 people from April 14 to 18, the laissez-faire liberals currently hold 6.5 percent support.

The April 10-13 Forsa survey of 2,007 voters shows Merkel's alliance of her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, unchanged compared with the previous week on 36 percent, while the SPD remains on 30 percent. Both polls show the Left, which advocates for more aggressive social policies than Germany's more mainstream factions, with 9 percent support.

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany remains unchanged in both surveys, on 8 percent in Forsa's and 10 percent in INSA's. The party has lost momentum as infighting has taken hold.

The hypothetical head-to-head

Support for the SPD picked up after the party named Martin Schulz as its candidate to run against Merkel for the Chancellery. But even support for him seems to have waned - the Forsa survey showed support for Schulz under the 30 percent level in that poll for the first time since the SPD nominated him.

Schulz lost three points when pollsters asked voters whom they would pick in a direct election for chancellor, which does not occur in Germany. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they would pick him, three percentage points below the previous week's level. That compares with 44 percent of Germans who would pick Merkel in such a direct vote - one point more than last week.

The Forsa poll also found an increase in the undecided and nonvoter categories, to 25 percent, up two points from the week before.

mkg/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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