Bloomberg News

Forsa Says Merkel’s Re-Election Chances Helped by New Parties

July 26, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s aim to prolong her coalition’s rule after Sept. 22 national elections is getting a boost from the entry of new political parties to the campaign, polling company Forsa GmbH said.

Votes drawn by fledgling parties including the anti-euro Alternative for Germany lower the threshold Merkel needs for a majority to as little as about 45 percent, Peter Matuschek, Forsa’s chief political analyst, said today in an interview.

Two months before the vote, Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc and its Free Democratic coalition partner had a combined 46 percent in each of three polls published this week. One poll, by Infratest dimap, gave the CDU/CSU alone 42 percent, an increase of almost eight percentage points on the last election in 2009.

“Merkel-party-only rule after the election would be unrealistic, but the snapshots of voter intentions give a strong signal that her coalition will hold office,” Berlin-based Matuschek said by phone. “And crowding of the race by smaller parties is a help, not the hindrance that it could be.”

Smaller political groups such as the Pirates party, which ran in 2009 for the first time, campaigning for digital liberties, together took 6 percent at the last election. Now, support for parties that polls show probably won’t win parliamentary seats is as much as 12 percent, mainly at the expense of Merkel’s FDP ally, which is polling about 5 percent after taking almost 15 percent in 2009. Parties need to win 5 percent to gain seats in parliament.

Merkel’s CDU/CSU held at 41 percent for the fifth straight week in the latest Forsa poll published on July 24, while the opposition Social Democratic Party of her main challenger, Peer Steinbrueck, dropped a point to 22 percent.

The Free Democrats were unchanged at 5 percent and the SPD’s Green party allies lost two points to 12 percent. The anti-capitalist Left Party had 9 percent, up a point. The Pirates, the AfD and “others” had a combined 11 percent. Forsa polled 2,500 voters on July 15-19. The results have a margin of error of about 2.5 percentage points.

As many as 38 parties may contest seats in the lower house, the Bundestag, the Federal Election Authority said on July 5.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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