Chancellor Kohl's Christian Demo crats are paying a heavy political price for the woes of unification. Voters now prefer the opposition Social Democratic Party by 41% to 38%, reports polling firm Emnid. Last December, Kohl's party won national elections with a 44% to 33% margin.

Skeptical voters now believe it will take 5 to 10 years to bring East Germany up to the West's living standard--not 3 or 4 years, as Kohl promised. Elections in Bremen on Sept. 29 are expected to tighten the Social Democrats' grip on that city-state and add momentum to their comeback.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.