Most Germans Want Merkel to Stick Around Until 2021, Poll Shows

Vanessa Dezem

(Bloomberg) -- About three-quarters of Germans want Chancellor Angela Merkel to complete her last term of office rather than step down early, according to a poll.

With the data showing weak support for possible candidates to succeed her, the Forsa survey underscores both the limited alternatives to Europe’s longest-serving head of government and the uncertainties of the post-Merkel era.

Election setbacks for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and her Social Democratic junior partner have fueled speculation about an early election or a more dramatic ouster before her term ends in late 2021. Merkel, 65, has insisted she’ll serve out her term but won’t run for another one.

Merkel’s relative strength reflects low poll numbers for her successor as CDU chairwoman, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and recently elected Social Democrat co-leader Saskia Esken. In a hypothetical head-to-head race between the two younger women, 66% would vote for neither, according to Forsa.

Support for Kramp-Karrenbauer and Esken was lower than for their respective parties. Backing for the CDU and its Bavaria-based CSU affiliate was unchanged at a combined 28% in the weekly Forsa poll, while the SPD dipped 1 percentage point to 12%.

A broad swath of voters across the political spectrum, 73%, said they want Merkel to serve out her term, according to Forsa. Only among supporters of the nationalist Alternative for Germany, or AfD, did a majority want her to leave early. The AfD had an unchanged 13% nationally, according to the poll for broadcasters RTL and NTV.

The Jan. 6-10 poll of 2,503 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vanessa Dezem in Frankfurt at vdezem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Tony Czuczka, James Amott

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