Support for Merkel's conservatives decreases, polls show

The results follow an agreement on her much-heralded proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions

Photo: Reuters German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivering a speech on 27 September.

Support fell for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives over the past week, but rose slightly for their Social Democrat coalition partners after the ruling alliance agreed a $60bn climate package, which includes a new domestic carbon pricing scheme, bigger incentives for buying electric cars, higher road tolls for trucks from 2023, and surcharges on domestic flights.

The plan was also aimed at stemming a surge in support for the ecologist Greens opposition, though it risks disrupting industry at a time when the economy may already be in recession. Nevertheless, the majority of Germans consider the package as insufficient to meet the country’s goals to slash carbon-dioxide emissions.

As a result, support for Merkel’s conservative bloc - her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - fell by 2 percentage points to 27%, a survey by pollster Emnid for newspaper Bild am Sonntag showed. The Greens were unchanged on 21%.

At the same time, the Emnid poll showed a one percentage point rise in support for the SPD to 16%. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) also gained one percentage point to 15%.

Emnid surveyed 1,719 voters from 19-25 September. The government agreed the climate package on 20 September. Meanwhile, the AfD has sought to attract voters in Germany’s poorer east by prioritising coal jobs above the environment.

“Criticism of the so-called climate protection policy is, after the euro and immigration, the third big issue for the AfD,” party leader Alexander Gauland told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Interim SPD leader Malu Dreyer however vowed on Saturday to fight hard over the details of the climate package, which still needs to be enacted into law.

“We believe this package is still a good package, that it is a good compromise,” Dreyer told reporters. “Now, we will come to the implementation and we will be able to argue with those who perhaps see some things differently.”

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