Merkel poll horror: German Chancellor’s legacy at risk as CDU plummets in ratings

Angela Merkel: Political expert discusses approval rating

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The CDU/CSU alliance climbed to 40 percent in opinion polls at the start of the pandemic 12 months ago but has suffered massive losses in recent months and had dropped to 32 percent, according to the latest survey. Analysts have warned the political partnership may not even achieve enough votes to appoint Germany’s next Chancellor unless the tide turns again before the autumn elections.

It is far from certain that the alliance will receive enough votes to appoint the next Chancellor

Jürgen Falter

And they say there is certainly a risk of bruising defeats when two states go to the polls in local elections this weekend.

In Baden-Württemberg the CDU has fallen to just 24 percent, 11 percentage points behind a resurgent Green Party, according to the latest ZDF survey.

The Greens’ lead is all the more remarkable as the parties were neck-and-neck just seven weeks ago.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, where the CDU was ahead in the polls for a long time, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has now pulled four points ahead on 33 percent.

Political analyst Jürgen Falter said: “The vaccination chaos, the lack of a comprehensible anti-corona strategy and the back and forth of closings and openings are increasingly being blamed on Chancellor Merkel and on Health Minister Jens Spahn.”

This is reflected in the level of satisfaction of the German voters.

According to a Kantar survey, 47 percent are dissatisfied with the government work of the CDU and CSU and only 43 percent are satisfied.

CSU General Secretary Markus Blume has accused Mr Spahn of making too many mistakes in the Covid-19 testing strategy and has set a deadline for improvements.

He said: “The next four weeks will count. The performance now decides the course of the year 2021.”

The alliance has also been dragged into a corruption scandal linked to the coronavirus pandemic. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating a suspected case of bribery against the previous vice chairman of the CSU parliamentary group.

Georg Nüsslein has been accused of accepting a £565,000 commission for arranging mask deals with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Bavarian state government.

CDU member Nikolas Löbel is also thought to have received £214,000 for his part in negotiating the mask deals.

SPD leader Norbert Walter Borjans said: “One must assume that nepotism and greed spread precisely where the solution to the most important issues in this Corona crisis is at stake.

“There must be an alternative to the conservatives that the people of the country can rely on.

“Any semblance of nepotism is poison for the much-needed trust of the large majority in the political leadership.

“Therefore, the inconsistencies in the procurement of masks must be completely cleared up.

“The Federal Minister of Health, but also the Federal Chancellor, are responsible.”

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The disastrous opinion poll results come six months before national elections and it still unclear whether CDU boss Armin Laschet or his CSU counterpart Markus Söder will be the alliance’s candidate to replaces Ms Merkel as German Chancellor.

And Mr Falter warned it could be the beginning of a downward spiral for the CDU/CSU.

He said: “It is far from certain that the alliance will receive enough votes to appoint the next Chancellor.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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