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Poll shows Merkel pulling ahead of Schulz ahead of German election

Staff Writer | May 19, 2017
Germany's Social Democrats continue to lag in the polls, with time ticking away ahead of September's national elections, according to the latest survey data, released Thursday.
Angela Merkel
Germany   Social Democrats continue to lag in the polls
According to the poll by national broadcaster ARD and Deutschlandtrend, 49% of voters would pick Chancellor Angela Merkel, of the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), to stay on in her job. Only 32% would opt for the SPD candidate, Martin Schulz.

The poll questioned 1,017 people on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The results showed steady, unchanged support for Merkel since the last survey, on May 11, but a loss of 4 percentage points for Schulz.

That's a turnaround from earlier this year, when Schulz, a former local mayor and head of the European Parliament, quit Brussels to lead the SPD in the race and seemed to energize the electorate, with polls then showing him ahead of Merkel in the choice for Germany's next chancellor.

But disappointing returns in three successive state-level elections for the SPD have led many to wonder if Schulz now has a chance against Merkel.

When asked what party people would vote for if the elections were on Sunday, 38% picked the CDU and 26% went for the SPD. That was a one-point gain and a one-point loss respectively.

The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) got 9% - a loss of one point - as did the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) - a gain of one point. The Greens stayed unchanged at 8%, while the hard-left Die Linke came in at 6%.

Parties need to take 5% of the vote to enter the parliament. Elections are set for September 24.