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SPD looks set to lose North Rhine Westphalia as CDU support surges say exit polls

Exit polls say the German opposition SPD looks likely to lose power in North Rhine Westphalia, the party's stronghold, after a surge in support for Angela Merkel's CDU.

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SPD looks set to lose North Rhine Westphalia as CDU support surges say exit polls

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Exit polls suggest Angela Merkel’s conservatives have romped to a shock win in the heartland of the rival SPD, North Rhine Westphalia.

Support surged for the CDU in a state the SPD have held almost uninterrupted since after the Second World War, giving them 34.5% of the vote, up from 26.3% in 2012.

The SPD fell from 39.1% to 30.5%, their fourth state election loss in a row since March, and a deep dent in their hopes of recapturing power in the national elections in September. Allies the Greens also lost out, dropping to 6% from 11.3%.

The CDU’s likely coalition partner the Free Democrats are on course for around 12%, while the far-right anti-EU AFD could win 7.5%.