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MNI: Differing German Polls Add Some Uncertainty To FDP Share

MNI (London)
--Final Tally of FDP Seats Will Be Big Determinant Of Next Merkel Coalition
By Tara Oakes
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - Two polls published Tuesday differed by 2 percentage
points on the result for Germany's liberal FDP: a niggle for German Chancellor
Angela Merkel's preferred coalition partners.
     Forsa's survey, which asked 2501 people between September 11 and 15, put
the FDP at 9%: tied with the far-right AfD. The Greens were at 8% and the
far-left Linke at 10% in the same poll.
     The projected FDP result is two points lower than in Allensbach's poll,
also out yesterday, which had them at 11% and clear winners of the sought-after
third place. Closest challengers were the AfD at 10%, followed by Linke at 9%
and Greens at 8%.
     Allensbach's poll surveyed fewer people at 1083 and was conducted September
     Merkel is on target to win the largest number of seats, but will need
propping up by a coalition partner. Historically, the FDP have been their allies
of choice, but a shock result last time saw the liberals miss out on the 5%
required to enter parliament and the CDU/CSU were forced to negotiate a grand
coalition with the centre-left SPD.
     Neither pollster accurately predicted the size of Merkel's support in the
last elections in 2013, when her CDU/CSU group won 41.5% of the vote. However,
in comparison with some recent global polling misses, they were fairly close to
the money.
     Forsa were marginally closer, estimating 40% two days before the vote.
Allensbach put them at 39.5% on the same day.
     Forsa also had a closer figure for the eventual SPD and FDP results in
2013: they had the SPD on 26% compared to the actual results of 25.7% and FDP on
5%, compared to the eventual 4.8%.
     Although Allensbach's figures were further off for the CDU/CSU, SPD and the
FDP, they were better indicators of small party support. Allensbach put the
Grune support at 9% last time compared to the true 8.4% and AfD support at 4.5%,
only 0.2% off from the actual 4.7%.
     AfD figures across all pollsters will likely be higher than reported due to
respondents' unwillingness to self-identify with the vocally Eurosceptic and
Islamophobic party.
     The FDP are confident they can claw their way back in under new
'Spitzenkandidat' -- main candidate -- Christian Lindner.
     But if they can't scrape together enough seats to prop up Merkel alone,
their role in a coalition would be threatened. She may court the SPD for another
grand coalition.
     The alternative is persuade the Greens to prop up them up along with the
FPD in a so-called Jamaica coalition, named after the three parties' colours.
     The unlikely trio govern together in some of Germany's Laende (regions) but
it has never been tried before on a national scale. Lindner told the Berliner
Zeitung newspaper on September 11 that he "no longer" believed in the Jamaica
model, citing the Green's relaxed refugee policy.
     It is difficult to accurately translate vote share into seat numbers ahead
of the elections themselves given Germany's mixed electoral system of both
constituencies and lists. Coalition building also takes time. This will be
especially true in the case of a Jamaica option, where the horse-trading is
likely to be fraught.
--MNI Brussels Bureau; +44 203-865-3851; email:
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
[TOPICS: M$E$$$,M$G$$$,M$X$$$,MC$$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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