Next Chancellor? Merkel Contender Schulz Ties in Election Poll

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel tied in a popularity survey with Martin Schulz, raising the latter's chances of becoming the new leader of Europe’s largest economy after September's election.
Martin Schulz and Angela Merkel tied in an election poll.

This week’s launch of Martin Schulz as the Social Democratic party’s chancellor candidate has led to a five percentage point jump in his popularity, bringing him up to the same level as incumbent Angela Merkel, a survey showed Wednesday evening.

Some 41 percent of voters would cast their vote for 61-year old Mr. Schulz if German citizens could directly choose the chancellor, the survey by public broadcaster ARD showed. He scored 36 percent in the previous poll held last month.

Ms. Merkel, a 62-year old Christian Democrat who has been chancellor since November 2005, also scored 41 percent in the newest poll, 2 percentage points lower than a month ago.

A general election will be held on September 24 and voters will choose new members of the German Lower House, or Bundestag, and the leader of the biggest party usually becomes the chancellor. There is no direct vote for chancellor.

Of those asked, 79 percent said Ms. Merkel possessed leadership skills, while only 60 percent said the same of Mr. Schulz. Ms. Merkel also scored higher when it came to competence, but lower than Mr. Schulz when it came to the characteristics “likeable” and “credible,” the poll showed.