Merkel’s Lead in Poll Solidifies as Social Democrats Lose Ground

Chancellor Angela Merkel solidified her poll lead as the opposition Social Democrats and Green Party slipped, showing that a week of criticism over the U.S. surveillance scandal left the German leader unscathed.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc held at 41 percent support, while the Social Democratic Party lost a point to 22 percent, according to a weekly Forsa poll published in Stern magazine today. Merkel’s Free Democratic coalition partner remained at 5 percent, while the SPD-allied Green Party fell two points to 12 percent.

As Merkel eases into summer vacation less than nine weeks before the election, the poll shows her likely to have enough to renew her coalition government. Merkel came under renewed fire this week after Der Spiegel magazine reported on cooperation between German intelligence and the U.S. National Security Agency, raising questions about how much her government knew about mass surveillance.

“Even if Angela Merkel isn’t exactly believed on this issue, many people find the personal attacks on her exaggerated,” Forsa chief Manfred Guellner was quoted in Stern as saying. He cited SPD candidate Peer Steinbrueck’s statement this month that Merkel had broken her oath of office by not better protecting the German people.

The chancellor says she’s pressing U.S. officials for information on the scale of NSA spying on German communications. Her chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, offered to appear this week in front of the Parliamentary Control Panel of the lower house, or Bundestag, to answer questions about German cooperation with U.S. intelligence.

The ruling coalition’s combined 46 percent lead in the Forsa poll would give it a Bundestag majority. An SPD-Green combination would fall short even if it had the support of the anti-capitalist Left Party, which gained a point to 9 percent. The SPD has ruled out such a scenario.

Forsa surveyed 2,500 voters July 15-19 and has a margin of error 2.5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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