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German election poll tracker: who will be the next chancellor?

·2 min read

Germans will vote on Sunday 26 September to elect a new Bundestag, or federal parliament. The result – after coalition negotiations likely to involve two or three parties – will decide who will succeed Angela Merkel, who is standing down after 16 years as chancellor.

A two-way coalition between the conservative CDU and the German Greens had long looked the most likely outcome. However, neither party fared well in their response to the devastating floods that hit Germany in July, giving a boost to the confidence of smaller parties.

German federal elections are proportional, so the share of vote given by polling companies should be read as translating fairly directly into share of seats in the resulting parliament. Only parties with less than 5% of the national vote, or less than three directly elected constituency seats, are not awarded proportional parliamentary seats.

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German political commentary has conventional names for potential coalitions, including GroKo for the “grand coalition” of CDU and SPD. A possible CDU-FPD-Green coalition is referred to as “Jamaica” because the party colours are more or less those of the Jamaican flag. For consistency, these coalitions are simulated using the latest polling averages as above. But depending on how many votes go to small parties that do not cross the 5% threshold for seats in parliament, the bigger parties may get slightly more seats than their vote share suggests.

Because coalitions are the norm in Germany, most are possible, but the other parties have traditionally said they would not enter coalition with the AfD, and there has never yet been a federal coalition involving Die Linke.

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Sources and methodology

Polling data is taken from Wahlrecht.de. Then the Guardian calculates an unweighted 14-day moving average, featuring only the latest poll from each of seven pollsters within the 14-day period.

• The coalition chart on this page was updated on 13 September 2021 to show estimated % share of seats by party, rather than raw average party share in the polls. This number is a better indicator of a party’s chances to form a governing coalition.

• An earlier version of this article was amended on 25 May 2021. The earlier version erroneously stated that parties obtaining less than 5% of the national vote need to win at least one constituency seat to be awarded proportional parliamentary seats. The correct number is three constituency seats, this has now been amended.

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