This puts him way ahead of SPD party chairman Kurt Beck in the popularity stakes, with the chances of a campaign headed by both men regarded sceptically, with just 33 percent saying it would be a good idea, and 44 percent saying it would be a bad choice.
The SPD leadership is meeting on Sunday, amid increased speculation about who will form the election team.
Former Vice Chancellor Franz Münterfering shook up the party recently when he announced his return to active politics after the death of his wife, and many rank and file members yearn for his leadership.
But it looks like Steinmeier, who is second to Beck in the party, is moving into position to take the top job. He called on Friday for the weekend meeting to yield concrete results over the future course of the party, saying the proposal paper for the election agenda “carries my name”.
Steinmeier is expected to be named an official candidate for chancellor shortly after the Bavaria state election on September 28, the Berliner Zeitung reported on Friday.