For the first time since the December DeutschlandTrend survey was released, the German chancellor led her main challenger, Martin Schulz, in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.
Schulz, the candidate for the CDU’s junior coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), had pulled even with Merkel by January’s poll and in February opened a 16-point (50 percent to 34 percent) lead over the chancellor.
That dipped to 45 percent to 36 percent by March, but Merkel, the devil Germans know best, gained 10 points in the most recent DeutschlandTrend survey, giving her 46 percent hypothetical support.
A former bookseller from the western city of Aachen who has spent most of his political career in the European Parliament, including five years as its president, Schulz dropped six points in the most recent survey, leaving him at 40 percent.Surveying 1,002 Germans, the pollster Infratest dimap found that Schulz had lost four points when it came to overall satisfaction, leaving him at just 48 percent, with Merkel up two points, to 62 percent.
Germans are most satisfied with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who was up three points, to 68 percent. Respondents indicated satisfaction with the job performance of Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (56 percent), Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (55 percent) and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (54 percent).
The country’s least satisfying politician is Frauke Petry, the de facto leader of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), who received just 9 percent support – down a point from March.
Four more years?
Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union, also lead ahead of September’s Bundestag elections, with the right-wing bloc up two points, to 34 percent support, while the SPD held even at 31 percent.
Also steady were the AfD, with 11 percent support, the Greens (8 percent) and Germany’s laissez-faire Free Democrats (FDP), with 6 percent. The Left lost a point and now has 7 percent support.DeutschlandTrend found Germans relatively OK with things the way they are, with 51 percent indicating that they were satisfied with the government they’ve got, up nine points from March, and another 2 percent saying they were very satisfied.
Thirty-four percent of respondents said they weren’t so satisfied, however – down nine points from March – and 13 percent said they weren’t satisfied at all. By party, that broke down to broad satisfaction for CDU supporters (73 percent), enthusiastic satisfaction for Greens (60 percent) and resigned satisfaction for SPD members (51 percent). AfD supporters were the least satisfied people in Germany, with 98 percent responding negatively to the notion.
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