Angela Merkel is the heavy favourite to win next month’s election in the largest EU member state, according to recent polls by multiple polling companies. Her party, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU) lies well ahead of their main competitors, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Allensbach gives voting intention figures of 39,5% for the CDU/CSU against a mere 24% for the Social Democrats under their new leader Martin Schulz. The liberal FDP – a potential coalition partner for the conservative CDU/CSU – stands at 10%, likely enough to form a stable government under Merkel’s leadership.

Forsa also shows a substantial gap of 14 percentage points in favour of Merkel’s party (38%-24%).

Whilst the Social Democrats desperately try to gain and maintain momentum and climb over the 25% mark, the Christian Democrats are close to 40%. In this poll, the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) comes in in third place, making a two-party coalition difficult to achieve.

All other parties have declared that they would not cooperate with them in any form.

INSA has very similar numbers, with the CDU/CSU at 38% and the SPD at 24%.

Merkel: Tough times, but well on course for victory

The current polling clearly indicates a very stable race with Angela Merkel’s CDU about 14-15% ahead of their nearest rival, the Social Democrats.

After initially gaining significant ground at the beginning of 2017 with the instalment of Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament, as party leader, the SPD quickly dropped back to their meagre mid-20s poll ratings and are set to lose a fourth consecutive election to Merkel.

Having had two tough years with the refugee crisis, the rise of the right-wing AfD, Brexit and the election of Trump, the German chancellor now seems firmly back on course to finish well ahead of anyone else and stay in power for another four years.

Role of smaller parties remains decisive

What remains to be seen, however, is how the smaller parties will perform in September. Germany’s highly proportional election system means that even if she wins big, Merkel will need at least one coalition partner. With the post-communist The Left (Die Linke) and the right-wing populist AfD out of the question, the CDU will end up in government with either the FDP, ideologically their favoured partner, the centre-left Greens or the Social Democrats in a continuation of the current ‘Grand Coalition’. Small changes among the junior parties might still have far-reaching consequences for who governs Germany after the election.