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Social Democrats flounder in latest poll

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Social Democrats flounder in latest poll
Photo: DPA
13:28 CEST+02:00
As the general election looms, Germany's Social Democrats seem unable to pull themselves out of the mire, hitting a yearly low in a poll released on Wednesday.

But there was better news for Merkel's struggling junior coalition party, the Free Democrats (FDP), who appear to be on the rise.

The Social Democrats (SPD) have been struggling over recent months and according to a weekly survey from pollsters Forsa, it has failed to garner anymore support on last week, with 22 percent of Germans saying they would vote for the party.

This is an all-year-low for the centre-left party. Together with the Greens and the leftist Linke, all three parties have 43 percent of the vote.

Yet the polls were more favourable towards Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), as it earned one more percentage point bringing it up to 41 percent.

The FDP even broke the 5 percent barrier, which would earn them seats in parliament. It now boasts 6 percent of potential votes.

If the FDP failed to muster the strength to push the current alliance over the top, Merkel could look to form a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, as she did during her first term 2005-2009.

Merkel has steadily moved her government to the political centre, swiping potentially potent issues such as family policy, a gradual exit from nuclear power and the minimum wage from the opposition.

This has blurred the distinctions between the mainstream parties and muted the opposition's lines of attack, resulting in what many observers have called a dull campaign.

But Germans told pollsters they were bored by the campaign between Merkel and her gaffe-prone chief rival, Peer Steinbrück of the Social Democrats.

Just 28 percent said they were strongly interested in the battle for leadership of Europe's top economic power while 49 percent said they were only marginally interested.

Nearly one in four voters – 23 percent – said they were "not at all interested" in the election.

The Local/AFP/jcw

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