With just eight weeks to go until Germany’s federal election, July closed in a very satisfactory way for Chancellor Angela Merkel. Her Christian Democrat party (CDU/CSU) held onto its enormous average poll lead and indeed increased it slightly from 13.9 points over the Social Democrats (SPD) in June to 14.5 points in July. (It should be noted the two months are not totally comparable, with 22 nationwide surveys published in July as against 25 in June).
While the CDU’s July average was practically unchanged at 38.5 per cent, the SPD slipped half a percentage point, down to just 24 per cent. Time is running out for its leader Martin Schulz to turn the election around.
With the country on holiday the principal political event was the controversial G20 summit in Hamburg and the violent demonstrations accompanying it. However a week of saturation media coverage appears not to have moved the opinion polls at all: perhaps criticisms of Merkel’s choice of hosting the summit at an inner-city venue were cancelled out by attacks directed at the city’s SPD-led administration which was accused of laxity.
Even by German standards the smaller parties turned in remarkably stable voting intention scores in July. The leftist Die Linke on 9 per cent and the Free Democrats (FDP) on 8.3 per cent delivered exactly the same averages as the previous month, and there was only minimal movement for the Greens and the populist AfD.
If the current state of public opinion is maintained through to 24 September, the way is open for a revival of the classic post-war centre-right coalition between the CDU/CSU and FDP in the new parliament. In eight of the 22 July opinion polls, this combination hit the magic 48 per cent of votes considered necessary for a such a majority – allowing for the ‘wastage’ of smaller parties who fail to clear the 5 per cent support hurdle to enter the Bundestag. And in a number of other polls, the CDU and FDP were tantalising close to 48 per cent.
JULY POLLING AVERAGES
Voting intentions, Bundestag, per cent
(change on June in brackets):
Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) 38.5 (+0.1) range 36 to 40
Social Democrats (SPD) 24.0 (-0.5) range 22 to 26
Left (Die Linke) 9.0 (nc) range 7 to 10.5
Free Democrats (FDP) 8.3 (nc) range 7 to 9
Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) 8.0 (+0.1) range 7 to 10
Greens (Die Gruenen) 7.7 (+0.2) range 6.5 to 9
Others 4.5 (+0.2) range 3 to 6
Pollsters and media partners for July: Allensbach Institut (FAZ) 1 poll, Emnid (Bild am Sonntag) 5 polls, Forsa (Stern, RTL) 4 polls, Forschungsgruppe Wahlen (ZDF) 2 polls, GMS 1 poll, Infratest dimap (ARD) 2 polls, Insa/YouGov (Bild) 4 polls, Ipsos 1 poll, YouGov (RND) 2 polls.
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