Some 38 percent of CDU supporters no back the Merkel loyalist. That places Kramp-Karrenbauer, the former state leader of Saarland and current general secretary of the CDU, at three percentage points higher than she received in the same survey two weeks ago.
Friedrich Merz, who originally polled as the top choice to replace Merkel, now snagged only 29 percent, or four percentage points lower than the last survey. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn only received six percent, a drop of one percentage point.
The interviewees ranked Kramp-Karrenbauer higher than Merz in three categories: “credible” (30 as compared to 16 percent), “sympathetic” (34 versus 15 percent), and also felt that AKK, as she is often dubbed in the German media, better “represents the interests of ordinary citizens” (33 versus nine percent).
On the other hand, Merz – who was a member of the Bundestag between 1994 and 2009 – was seen as a more competent candidate (28 compared to 16 percent).
The survey, which was conducted by phone between November 20-22nd, asked 1336 randomly selected participants who they would choose as the new CDU head to replace German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has served as party leader for the past 18 years.
A day after her party suffered severe losses in the Hesse state elections on October 28th, Merkel announced she would no longer run for reelection as party leader – nor as chancellor when her term comes to an end in 2021.
The decision about the new CDU chairman will not be made by the voters, but by the delegates of the CDU federal party conference, set to be held in Hamburg on December 7th. Voter approval ratings “are therefore not directly decisive, but may play a role in the opinion-forming process of CDU delegates,” wrote Spiegel Online on Friday.
In the poll, an additional 12 percent of CDU supporters said it was “egal”, or didn’t matter, who is chosen as the new CDU head, An additional 15 percent of those surveyed either said that they could not or would not answer the question.
Several candidates announced their desire to run, but only Kramp-Karrenbauer, Merz and Spahn have officially announced their candidacy, and have been campaigning at a series of regional conferences.
Merz ruffled feathers at the last CDU regional meeting on Wednesday in Thuringia when he questioned whether Germany should continue to have asylum written as a basic right in its constitution.