Germany’s Greens have cemented a robust advantage in the early stages of the election campaign, boosting their chances of capturing the
chancellery in September and pushing through a heavily environmentalist reform agenda.
Bolstered by a youthful image and strong climate credentials, the Greens surged into the lead past Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc in three separate polls in the past week, with one putting them six points ahead at 28%. A new survey published Sunday confirmed the trend with Merkel’s bloc falling to a 14-month low at 27%, on par with the Green Party. The Greens lost 1 percentage point but are still close to their biggest national support in about two years.
The polls offer the first gauges of voter intent following the nomination of the parties’ candidates, and the Greens’ early momentum gives the former fringe party a realistic shot at leading a ruling coalition for the first time.
Their recent surge is partly down to Annalena Baerbock at the head of the party ticket, who many see as a force for renewal after more than 15 years of solid yet unspectacular Merkel administrations.
A Forsa poll showed the 40-year-old would win comfortably if Germans could elect their chancellor directly. She would trounce Armin Laschet, the drab 60-year-old candidate for Merkel’s conservative alliance, who has been struggling to gain support even from his own party after a messy nomination fight.
“The campaign is perceived as pitting a modern, future-oriented woman against an older candidate who stands for the past,” said Forsa head Manfred Guellner.
“This race is not over yet, but Laschet will have to seriously strengthen his profile if he wants to win back voters.”