The average of 26 national polls published in August showed no real shift in opinion between the main two forces, with a Christian Democrat (CDU/CSU) lead of 14.3 points, compared to 14.5 points in July. Not only did the Social Democrats (SPD) make virtually no inroads into Angela Merkel’s commanding lead, they matched January 2017 lows with some pollsters. With little more than three weeks to go to election day, the SPD appears increasingly desperate for a breakthrough.
Among the smaller parties, the Free Democrats (FDP) will be pleased to have consolidated their average just above 8 per cent, albeit a frustrating point or two short of being able to form a Schwarz-Gelb coalition with the CDU. Die Linke are also static, at a level just above the party’s 2013 election result of 8.6 per cent.
The Greens continue to hover around 7 per cent of voting intentions, which would be a setback if realised on 24 September. Meanwhile the AfD has lifted its average for the second month in a row and was back in double figures (either 10 or 11 per cent) in six polls in August.
With such stability in the polling results, and in the absence of fireworks in the campaign so far, it is not surprising that some commentators have dismissed the election as rather boring to date, emphasising the safety-first strategy of Chancellor Merkel. However, given the unusual volatility of German opinion earlier shown this year, as well as sudden late shifts in allegiance in other European elections recently, it would be wrong to assume the contest for the Bundestag is practically all over.
AUGUST POLLING AVERAGES
Voting intentions, Bundestag, per cent
(change on July in brackets):
Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) 38.1 (-0.4) range 36 to 40
Social Democrats (SPD) 23.8 (-0.2) range 22 to 25
Left (Die Linke) 9.1 (+0.1) range 8 to 10.5
Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) 8.8 (+0.8) range 7 to 10
Free Democrats (FDP) 8.4 (+0.1) range 7 to 10
Greens (Die Gruenen) 7.3 (-0.4) range 6 to 8
Others 4.6 (+0.1) range 3 to 6
Pollsters and media partners for August: Allensbach Institut (FAZ) 1 poll, Emnid (Bild am Sonntag) 4 polls, Forsa (Stern, RTL) 5 polls, Forschungsgruppe Wahlen (ZDF) 2 polls, GMS 1 poll, Infratest dimap (ARD) 3 polls, Insa (Bild) 5 polls, YouGov (RND) 5 polls.
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