|Source: Forsa (other polls display a similar trend)|
Here's another consideration: what if the CDU/CSU/FDP coalition wins but ends up with a very narrow majority, meaning the government may not be able to pass contentious eurozone related legislation without support from the opposition due to rebels in its own ranks?
Both these factors increase the likelihood of another CDU/CSU and SPD 'grand coalition', like under Merkel's first Chancellorship between 2005 and 2009. Although that government - in which the SPD's current Chancellor Peer Steinbrück served as Finance Minister - is credited with successfully navigating through the initial economic crisis, the SDP's poll ratings have never recovered, while Merkel's CDU has gone from strength to strength.
As a result, Steinbrück has ruled out another grand coalition, claiming that:
"The SPD's inclination to enter into a Grand Coalition is pretty much zero. Why should we once again be Merkel’s lackeys?"Of course the fact that Steinbrück himself would not serve under Merkel again does not preclude a grand coalition with someone else from the party serving as Merkel's deputy. However, antipathy to this idea is widespread throughout the SPD, due to fears it would be unable to implement many of its policies and sink even lower in the polls (although ironically the party has also accused Merkel of stealing all its best policies for the CDU).
This is hardly a story of unrequited love - the CDU/CSU are also not keen on the idea, believing that such a coalition would be unstable as the SPD would be waiting for the appropriate time to bring down the government with the votes of the other left-wing parties before calling new elections, with Merkel unlikely to stand a fourth time, and with other credible CDU 'spitzenkandidaten' thin on the ground.
Either way, if the polls remain stable over the next few weeks and are an accurate reflection of the final results, we could be in for some interesting coalition talks.
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