There are still three months to go until Germans cast their votes in a national election on September 24th. But current polling suggests the most likely outcome is a fourth consecutive victory for the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) under the leadership of Angela Merkel.
A poll by the Allensbach Institute for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday put the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, at 40 percent support, an increase of three points since their last survey in May.
The Free Democrats (FDP) came in at 10.5 percent, an improvement of 1.5 percent since the last poll.
If the CDU/CSU and the FDP manage to realize these favourability ratings at the ballot box in September, it would allow them to form a so-called “black-yellow” coalition government – a reference to the colours associated with the two parties (black for CDU, yellow for FDP).
Coalitions between the CDU/CSU and the FDP have been a recurring feature of modern German politics.
The first black-yellow coalition was formed in 1949, the very first year of modern German democracy. And in total there has been a black-yellow coalition in 34 of the 68 years since, with the most recent version of the alliance taking place between 2009 and 2013.
But the FDP suffered political humiliation in the last national election when they failed to make it over the 5 percent hurdle to gain seats in the Bundestag (German parliament).
A strong performance in the state election in North Rhine-Westphalia earlier this year under charismatic young leader Christian Lindner has seen them shoot back up in popularity over recent weeks.
The Allensbach Institute poll held bad news for the SPD on two counts. It saw their favourability among voters slump two points to 24 percent.
Meanwhile only 20 percent of respondents said they wanted to see SPD leader Martin Schulz become chancellor, a marked drop in his popularity since February, when 39 percent of voters wanted him as their next leader.
Merkel on the other hand garnered 45 percent support, up from the 26 percent who wanted to see her remain in power in February.