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8 Jan, 2024 18:55

Most Germans want Scholz to step down – poll

Almost 70% do not want to see the current chancellor remain in office, a survey has shown
Most Germans want Scholz to step down – poll

Public support for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has fallen to record lows, the tabloid Bild reported on Monday, citing a fresh survey conducted by the INSA polling institute. Almost two-thirds of Germans want him to resign before the next federal election, scheduled for October 2025, the data suggests.

As many as 64% of respondents told INSA that Scholz should vacate his position and hand it over to Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who is a fellow Social Democrat. Less than a quarter of Germans opposed that prospect.

Scholz would also lose an election versus any of his major rivals, the poll showed. Only 23% of Germans would support the current chancellor against Friedrich Merz, the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merz himself would enjoy the backing of 26% of voters.

Should Scholz face off against Markus Soeder, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) – the traditional CDU ally in Bavaria – Soeder would secure a clear victory with 36% to 20%. Pistorius would claim a narrow victory against Merz with 25% to 23%, but would still lose to Soeder 25% to 34%, the survey said. Under German law, the chancellor is confirmed by MPs on the proposal of the federal president.

Soeder currently serves as governor of Germany’s most populous state and is known for his criticism of Scholz’s policies. In November, he warned that Germany was in a “serious crisis,” particularly slamming the chancellor’s cabinet over its budget and police failures, adding that the “government has gone bankrupt.”

The Bavarian politician also criticized the federal government’s strategy of using only subsidies to combat price hikes resulting from forgoing Russian energy supplies. He also criticized Berlin for, as he said, prioritizing military aid to Ukraine over the nation’s own security.

The INSA poll showed that Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) had the support of just 16% of Germans, 15 percentage points behind the CDU and seven percentage points behind the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Scholz has been losing public support for quite some time. In early December, a YouGov poll showed that 74% of Germans believed he was doing a poor job as chancellor, with only 20% seeing his performance in a positive light. As many as 73% said they were unhappy with his entire cabinet.

Some 77% said they placed little or no trust in the way Scholz is governing Germany. Even among SPD supporters, this figure reached 60%. Later in the month, Der Spiegel reported that Scholz’s personal approval had slipped to just 30%, down from 44% in June 2023.

On Monday, Bild described Scholz as “the most unpopular chancellor of all time.”