It appears the winds of change are favouring the fortunes of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats.
Martin Schulz, its candidate to be chancellor, is riding high in the polls, giving the party its best showing in a decade.
Widely admired for his battle against alcoholism, he’s relatively new to domestic politics and is yet to unveil his manifesto.
The “Schulz effect”
Some analysts are calling it the “Schulz Effect” or “Schulzmania” and recent polls suggest his campaign is gaining momentum.
Since entering the race in January his popularity ratings have soared. He’s currently neck and neck with Angela Merkel.
The latest “Deutschland Trend poll“http://www.infratest-dimap.de/en/umfragen-analysen/nationwide/vote-intention/, by Germany’s public broadcaster ARD, suggests that the Social Democrats would win 32 percent of the vote if elections were held today, just ahead of Ms. Merkel and the CDU at 31 percent.
Furthermore, the SPD is way ahead in another poll which asks people which party they like to lead the next Federal government.
Are Germans fed up with Merkel?
Some suggest that Germany is simply fed-up with Merkel, who’s led the country for the past 12 years.
A month ago it seemed almost certain that she would win September’s election.
Schulz’s showing also coincides with a slump for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) which makes the headlines but hasn’t yet made a significant difference in elections.
Schulz’s popularity could be a result of him promising controversial welfare reforms. For many Germans, he now presents a realistic and credible alternative to Merkel.