On the eve of the German Federal election, the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) is enjoying a late surge in the polls while support for Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU has slipped back. While she maintains a comfortable 14-point average lead over the struggling Social Democrats (SPD), who also lose ground, gains for the smaller parties suggest a more interesting outcome tomorrow than many have so far predicted.
Some of the final polls will worry Christian Democrat campaigners as the party has clearly fallen from its peak of up to 40 per cent in late August. With Insa yesterday, a poll involving some of the latest-dated fieldwork, the CDU slips to 34 per cent of voting intentions, a score last seen in early May. 35 per cent on the same day from Emnid is the lowest in that series since April.
Merkel’s main challengers, the SPD, continue to flounder. The party’s final average across the eight regular national pollsters is just 21.7 per cent, two points below its August polling average and exactly four points adrift of the 2013 election result.
After having been virtually written off by some commentators over the summer, the AfD has surged back to hold third place position in all but one of the eight final surveys. In the exception, from Allensbach, it is possible that only the earlier close of interviews has prevented a similar outcome. If their average of 11 per cent is delivered tomorrow, they will duly enter the Berlin Federal parliament for the first time in style.
The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the leftists of Die Linke are tied for fourth in the final poll average at 9.5 per cent. For the FDP a storming return to the Bundestag seems assured, while Die Linke are looking at a modest gain.
Finally the Greens are polling in a very consistent 7 to 8 per cent range, not far off their 2013 result. This will be a disappointment to them after prolonged double figure polling scores in this parliamentary term, but it seems that earlier speculation of a slide below the 5 per cent threshold for Federal seats is now wide of the mark.
The late slide in CDU support risks seriously complicating post-election coalition talks – which were already shaping up to be difficult. A classic centre-right alliance between the CDU and FDP looks out of the question on these polling averages and even some kind of arrangement between these two parties and the Greens would only just secure a parliamentary majority.
Much will depend on the level of turnout, which could shift party totals by a critical point or two. Not all pollsters publish figures for undecided voters or for those who do not intend to vote. But among those who do, both counts are elevated: for example with GMS the combined total is 34.2 per cent, and with both Forsa and Forschungsgruppe Wahlen it is around a quarter of participants.
EMNID 22 September
CDU/CSU 35, SPD 22, AfD 11, Linke 10, FDP 9, Gruene 8, Others 5.
Fieldwork: 14.09-21.09.2017. Participants: 1111. Media partner: Bild.
FORSA 22 September
CDU/CSU 36, SPD 22, AfD 11, FDP 9.5, Linke 9.5 Gruene 7, Others 5.
Fieldwork: 18.09-21.09.2017. Participants: 2006. Media partners: RTL, Stern.
INSA 22 September
CDU/CSU 34, SPD 21, AfD 13, Linke 11, FDP 9, Gruene 8, Others 4.
Fieldwork: 21.09-22.09.2017. Participants: 2000. Media partner: Bild.
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 21 September
CDU/CSU 36, SPD 21.5, AfD 11, FDP 10, Linke 8.5, Gruene 8, Others 5.
Fieldwork: 20.09-21.09.2017. Participants: 1725. Media partner: ZDF.
GMS 21 September
CDU/CSU 37, SPD 22, AfD 10, FDP 9, Linke 9, Gruene 8, Others 5.
Fieldwork: 14.09-20.09.2017. Participants: 1004.
YouGov 21 September
CDU/CSU 36, SPD 23, AfD 10, Linke 10, FDP 9, Gruene 7, Others 5.
Fieldwork: 15.09-19.09.2017. Participants: 1862. Media partner: RND.
Allensbach 19 September
CDU/CSU 36.5, SPD 22, FDP 11, AfD 10, Linke 9, Gruene 8, Others 3.5.
Fieldwork: 06.09-14.09.2017. Participants: 1083. Media partner: FAZ.
Infratest dimap 14 September
CDU/CSU 37, SPD 20, AfD 12, FDP 9.5, Linke 9, Gruene 7.5, Others 5.
Fieldwork: 12.09-13.09.2017. Participants: 1503. Media partner: ARD.
FINAL POLLING AVERAGES
Voting intentions, Bundestag, per cent
(2013 result in brackets):
Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) 35.9 (41.5) range 34 to 37
Social Democrats (SPD) 21.7 (25.7) range 20 to 23
Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) 11.0 (4.7) range 10 to 13
Free Democrats (FDP) 9.5 (4.8) range 9 to 11
Left (Die Linke) 9.5 (8.6) range 8.5 to 11
Greens (Die Gruenen) 7.7 (8.4) range 7 to 8
Others 4.7 (6.2) range 3.5 to 5
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