Poll reads: “Lieber als Bundeskanzler/in” – better chancellor; “jetzt” – now; “ende Januar” – end of January; “weiß nicht” – undecided.

More evidence of the “Schulz effect.”*

German centre-left candidate Martin Schulz would comprehensively beat incumbent Angela Merkel in a one-off vote for the chancellorship, according to a new poll from broadcaster ZDF.

Mr Schulz, a former president of the European parliament for the last five years, would gain 49 per cent of the popular vote against 38 per cent for Ms Merkel if the two candidates went head to head for the job, the poll suggested.

A former footballer and book-shop owner, Mr Schulz was appointed as the SPD’s hopeful for chancellor in January and has enjoyed surging support, with his rating up from 40 per cent in ZDF’s January poll (see above).

The veteran of EU politics has revitalised Germany’s Social Democrats, who are in coalition with the centre-right Christian Democrats, to their highest poll ratings in 10 years.

Having served as a former mayor of his local town and spent over two decades in Brussels, the 61-year old Mr Schulz has been hailed as a fresh face on Germany’s political scene dominated by Ms Merkel who has been chancellor for 12 years.

Germany will go to the polls to elect a new chancellor in September. The ZDF poll however suggests the SPD would still fail to become the country’s biggest party in the Bundestag, falling behind Ms Merkel’s CDU despite a six points rating boost (see below).

Mr Schulz also emerged top in a list of the country’s ten most popular politicians, with Ms Merkel third and finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in fourth.

* “If elections were held next Sunday…; (“andere” – other).

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