The lead in voter support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance over the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) shrank to a multi-year low of 4 percentage points, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.
The SPD, which a week ago appointed Martin Schulz as leader, scored 29 percent in the survey published in newspaper Bild am Sonntag – a six-point jump that Bild said was the biggest pollster Emnid had ever recorded for the party.
The jump took SPD support to its highest in over four years. Support for Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, fell 4 points to 33 percent – cutting the gap between the two blocs to its narrowest in records compiled by poll tracker wahlrecht.de going back to Sept 2013.
“Martin Schulz is managing above all to win back former SPD voters and to appeal to them emotionally,” Emnid’s Torsten Schneider-Haase told the newspaper, adding: “Such a strong shift in party preferences within a week is a one-off.”
The SPD appointed Schulz, a former European Parliament president, as leader last Sunday, replacing Sigmar Gabriel who said he was standing aside to boost the party’s chances.
The move has re-energised the SPD, junior partner in Merkel’s ‘grand coalition’, ahead of September’s federal election.
Schulz has vowed to unseat Merkel with a campaign aimed at overcoming “deep divisions” that he says have fuelled populism in Germany in recent years.
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