Posted Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, at 2:58 PM
This is an odd piece of data to find in a story titled "Merkel will cruise to 2013 win: pollster."
Merkel's conservatives (CDU/CSU) are polling about 31 percent in Forsa surveys while the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) are at 27 percent. The SPD hope to form a coalition with the Greens, polling 16 percent.
Merkel's current partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), are on 3 percent -- below the 5 percent threshold needed for seats in parliament -- after winning 14.6 percent in 2009.
The case for Merkelian invicibility is that she has charisma and the possible SDP leader doesn't. Fair enough. But Merkel's party is down 3 points from the last federal election, the SDP is up 4, the Greens are up 5, and the FDP is down 12. Merkel can survive, but only as the head of a left-right coalition government. There's a similar situation in the UK right now (as similar as you can get when comparing PR and first-past-the-post systems), where the Labour Party has taken advantage of falling support for the Conservatives and collapsing support for the Liberal Democrats, but Labour leader Ed Miliband comes off as just too feeble to win the general election.
Meanwhile, in the first good Euro news since -- I don't know, it's been a while -- Berlusconi is out.