Sean Gallup | Getty Images
A voter casts his ballot in German federal elections as a German flag hangs behind on September 22, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.
Current Forsa polling suggests that Merkel’s CDU/CSU will emerge victorious in September with a significant lead over the SPD, though short of the majority needed.
Christian Democratic Union + Christian Social Union – 40%
Social Democratic Party (SPD) – 23%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) – 7%
Green Party (Greens) – 8%
Die Linke (The Left) –8%
Alternative for Germany (AfD) – 8%
This means that she will need to strike a deal with either the SPD, as is currently the case under ‘a grand coalition’, or one or more smaller parties.
Alternatively, Schulz’s SPD could see a surge in support and gain enough votes to form a coalition with smaller allies.
This outcome looked much more plausible in the early months of the year, when immigration concerns saw Merkel lose support. However, she has since largely recovered those losses and analysts see an overall win for the SPD as increasingly unlikely.
“The difference between the CDU and the SPD is quite great,” notes Schneider-Haase. “These numbers will not be the same in two months but the difference remains great.”
Commerzbank has evaluated a win for Merkel as the most likely outcome, though it adds that a left-leaning SDP coalition could mean a major divergence for German politics.
“The next German election matters,” the German bank wrote in a research note. “Comparing the likely policies of a left-wing coalition with a coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP shows significant differences. However, based on latest polls a leftist coalition is unlikely to happen.
“That means that Mrs Merkel as the leader of the probably biggest parliamentary group will stay chancellor. However, it will make a difference who will be her partner(s).”