A little over a month later, the Germans can elect a new parliament. Angela Merkel left politics after sixteen years, so there will be a new chancellor anyway.
The campaign is unprecedentedly exciting: While a month ago it seemed like the race between the CDU/CSU Christian Democrats and the Greens was over, Olaf Schulz’s Social Democrats were catching up for a week or two.
Today, for the first time in 15 years, the SPD is higher than the CDU/CSU in the polls. Here you will find the latest polls in a row.
The Christian Democrats are in a historically bad position. They are slipping further and further towards the 20 per cent mark in the polls. In Forsa’s most recent poll, they received 22 percent of the vote, the lowest result ever. The party is very concerned, because – if this is the outcome of the elections – it is also possible that governments will be without the Christian Democrats.
Bavarian sister party leader Markus Söder recently grumbled: “I don’t feel like I’m in the opposition at all.” At the beginning of this year, he fought a fierce battle with party leader Armin Laschet for leadership.
Laschet’s unpopularity is seen as one of the main reasons behind the poor performance of the CDU. He was never liked by voters, who find him colorless, without scheme, and uncharismatic. A fatal mistake during his visit to the flood plain further damaged his image.
Laschet is also the chief minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which was hit hard by floods this summer. During a televised address to President Steinmeier, Laschet was joking with aid workers in the background. This came to a lot of criticism.
Things are not going smoothly for the greens either. Party leader Annalena Barbock was caught “beautifying” her autobiography and transcribing texts without citing the source in her book “Jetzt”. She made a few clumsy slips of her tongue and thus seemed to have to apologise the whole time.
Barbock’s mistakes reinforce the picture her rivals want to paint her: that Barbock, who is 40 and has no management experience, is not ready for the federal chancellor. The Green Party ranks third in the opinion polls.
The benefactor of this fatal mistake is SPD leader Olaf Schulz. In surveys, he has long been seen as the most suitable advisor of the three. Many see in him the politician with whom Germany might remain “as is”, the politician more like Merkel than her party’s candidate, Laschet.
Schulz hasn’t made any major gaffes yet, but he’s also stayed out of a critical crossroads for the media. Who knows, criticism of his performance as finance minister in the Wirecard and CumEx scandals may still come. Nor did he make a good impression as mayor of Hamburg during the G-20, when left-wing extremists left a trail of devastation across the city.
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