New polls bolstered Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder’s bid to be the candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right bloc in autumn elections, showing a wide margin of popular support for him over Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Mr Laschet is the leader of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, and has rallied the party’s leadership behind his bid to run as chancellor.
Mr Soeder, the leader of the CDU’s smaller Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, has resisted pressure to resolve the matter immediately, however, saying it needs to be discussed with people beyond senior party officials.
Mr Soeder has emphasised his superior poll ratings, and two new surveys further boost that argument.
One, conducted this week by the infratest dimap agency for ARD television, showed 44% of Germans, and 725 of union-bloc voters, preferred Mr Soeder to Mr Laschet.
By contrast, 15% of Germans and 17% of union-bloc voters preferred Mr Laschet.
The poll of 1,174 people had a margin of error of plus or minus two to three percentage points.
It indicated that with Mr Laschet as the candidate the union bloc was polling at 27 percent support, one point below its current ratings as measured by the agency, while with Mr Soeder it sat at 38% support.
Insa’s poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Mr Laschet has dismissed the importance of the polls, noting that the elections are months away and that he has overcome poor numbers in state races in the past.
After a meeting on Tuesday of the two parties’ joint parliamentary group in Berlin, both men emerged to say that the talks were productive and that they hoped to have a decision by week’s end.
There was no indication early on Friday, however, that any announcement was imminent.
Germany’s parliamentary election on September 26 will determine who succeeds Mrs Merkel, who is not seeking a fifth term after nearly 16 years in power.