It seems that in the aftermath of the debate, Gerhard Schröder’s possible coalition partners have unexpectedly regained some inner poise as the German election campaign goes pirouetting into its last ten days of not-quite-frenzied democracy. The CDU and FDP both lost one point in polls taken for Stern and RTL, with the SPD three points up, the Left one point down and the Greens unchanged. Even though the SPD is still six points down on the CDU, this may be a key moment – as the potential rightwing coalition is now no longer a majority.
It was a good day for the Chancellor, as he put on 4 percentage points of personal approval – which takes him to 17 points up on Angela Merkel, at 48 to 31. This may perhaps explain why, as Jörg Lau blogs here, Germany is being covered in SPD posters featuring little else than big pictures of yer man. As a further reminder never to write off lumbering and traditionalistic German institutions, the FAZ reports today that German industry beat everybody’s production forecasts for July. For the two-month period June-July, output in manufacturing, construction and energy was up as much as 2% over the preceding two months.
Mind you, though, the Schröder recovery story does contain one socking great if – the suggestion that, if the election was today, he could form a government relies entirely on forming a coalition between the SPD, Greens and the Linkspartei. The idea of a Schröder-Lafontaine reconciliation buggers the imagination, gentle reader – although desperation is always a great motivator. And, were the LP to go back into government, you can assume that much of the Schröder agenda would go out of the window.