The country’s main opposition party is the centre-left SPD, led by former EU parliament president Martin Schulz. After Schulz’s announcement that he would be his party’s chancellor-candidate, the SPD received a bump in the polls, but that has since subsided and Merkel’s party has returned to having a commanding lead in the polls.
The latest INSA/YouGov poll (21st – 24th July) puts the CDU/CSU on 37.5%, ahead of the SPD on 25%. The poll also gave the leftist Die Linke 10.5%, the Greens 6.5% and the socially and economically liberal FDP 8.5%. It also gave the right-wing AfD 9%.
Two other recent polls provide the following results:
- Forsa (26/7/2017): CDU/CSU 40%, SPD 22%, Greens 8%, FDP 8%, Linke 9%, AfD 7%
- Forschunsgruppe Wahlen: CDU/CSU 40%, SPD 24%, Greens 8%, FDP 8%, Linke 8%, AfD 8%
At this stage, it looks like Angela Merkel’s party will once again be the largest party in September - if the polls remain steady right up until election day. To put that into context, a share of the vote of around 40% would be similar to what the party got in 2013 (41%).
With Germany’s proportional representation system, it’s unlikely that the CDU/CSU will get a majority government meaning that a coalition will likely have to be formed, as is the norm in German politics. For the last four years Merkel’s party have governed with their SPD rivals, but if the FDP get over the 5% threshold to enter parliament then there could be a new coalition.
Of course, polls are snapshots of public feeling at one stage or another and are not predictions. The recent election in the UK shows us that polls can quickly change, and while Merkel’s Conservative are well ahead of their rivals, a favourable election campaign for the SPD could lead to Merkel’s downfall.