by Ken Feltman
Those of you who subscribe to Radnor’s economic and political briefings know that Radnor predicted in April that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would experience late-campaign difficulities again this year. We had predicted the likelihood of a “Grand Coalition” four year ago when we realized the softness of support for the economic ideas advanced by her party, the Christian Democrats, despite her personal popularity.
This time, voters are anxious about the economic recovery and less willing to trust Merkel to lead a right-of-center governing coalition. Thus, despite long odds, the Social Democrats have a chance to force Merkel into another right-left coalition in Sunday’s voting.
Here is an announcement that Radnor sent to the media earlier today, September 23, 2009:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hopes to form a right-of-center governing coalition seem to be slipping away. Her Christian Democrats are sliding in recent polls and the left-of-center Social Democrats are rising.
This trend repeats the pattern of the 2005 election, which saw support for Merkel’s party plunge in the last days. Then, extreme economic policy positions caused the attrition. Now, Merkel’s bland campaign and the economy seem to be the problems.
Not reflected in polling data but surfacing in focus groups are the impressions held by German voters who have relatives or business interests in the former Soviet states of Eastern Europe. Those voters are rankled that Merkel’s government seemed to abandon the Eastern Europeans when the financial crisis hit.
The election is Sunday.