Berlin / Wildau (dpa) – His face really says it all. Olaf Scholz receives the latest poll on the federal elections on a campaign trip. The crease that digs into his forehead when he’s focused gives way to a deeply satisfied smile.
The following survey with good grades is no longer used at SPD headquarters. There are still five weeks until the general election. The Social Democrats candidate for chancellor might say “Running”.
But Olaf Scholz doesn’t. Rather, you have the impression that the 63-year-old wants to hide his satisfied response to the polls from observers. He turns the grinning face away. It’s a fine line to appear confident, but not arrogant or over-confident about victory.
Showing satisfaction now probably wouldn’t go down well with his critics. But actually the vice chancellor could trumpet out loud that he’d always said it. When Scholz was elected Chancellor of the SPD more than a year ago, he was laughed at. The SPD’s polls were in the basement, Scholz was written off and considered unloved by his own party. The vehemence with which he repeatedly emphasized his desire to become chancellor alienated many.
Chancellor’s ambitions seemed unrealistic for a long time
The vice chancellor at the time described how he envisioned the way to the chancellery. As soon as citizens noticed that Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was no longer active, the polls would turn. His experience as a member of the government, the solid policy in the Corona crisis and the future ideas of the SPD would pay off. Scholz likes to make plans – and he loves it when it works out.
In any case, it now seems possible that the Chancellery’s plan will work. In almost all polls ahead of the federal election, the SPD has overtaken or at least overtook the Greens. They also see that the Kantar, Forsa and Infratest institutes are only one or two percentage points behind the Union. Trend: up for the SPD, down for the Union. If you believe the polls, things get really exciting on election night.
If you ask the citizens who they would take if the candidate for chancellor was right instead of the party, the answer is obvious: Olaf Scholz. In the latest “Deutschlandtrend” in the ARD “Morgenmagazin”, 41 percent of the respondents answered, six points more than at the beginning of the month. For Union candidate Armin Laschet there is only 16 percent, for Annalena Baerbock of the Greens 12 percent of the voters. What started as a duel between the Union and the Greens seems to have turned into a duel between Laschet and Scholz in the final meters – with benefits for Scholz.
Scholz takes advantage of competition mistakes
The Vice Chancellor is well aware that this has a lot to do with the weaknesses of others and not just his own strength. Baerbock and their Greens made mistakes at the start of the election campaign. Even Laschet does not always seem stable – as in a video currently being diligently shared on social networks. The CDU man is asked about three topics that are most important after the elections. He mentions digitization and reduction of bureaucracy for more climate protection. A third thing? “Yeah, what else are we going to do?” Laschet wonders aloud – and can’t answer.
That probably wouldn’t have happened to Scholz. The Minister of Finance can settle subjects from the election program as if they had been memorized. Climate protection and an associated industrial revolution, a fast law with renewable energy expansion targets, 12 euros minimum wage, stable pensions, respect for all lifestyles. This suggests that Scholz’s race to catch up in the surveys is more than just the result of “When two argue…”. “The Social Democracy is convincing,” says former SPD leader Franz Müntefering. “And Olaf Scholz would make a good people’s chancellor.”
It seems a bit like the SPD still can’t believe its luck. Do polls really need to run in time for the elections? There is the impression that the upward trend is stable and will continue, the Willy-Brandt-Haus said very cautiously. Forsa boss Manfred Güllner steps on the brakes: Many thought Scholz was chancellor, but would not vote for him because he had the SPD on his back, he told RTL and n-tv. “Scholz’s problem is the SPD’s competency values. They are so small that I assume that the growth of the SPD will not lead much higher.” At the same time, we know that surveys only show snapshots and that many citizens only make a decision shortly before the elections.
But the Social Democrats also know from painful personal experience in the 2017 elections that it is extremely difficult to get out of the negative vortex in which the Union and the Greens are threatened. In any case, Scholz is already a practicing chancellor. He not only represented Merkel during her vacation in the flood zone. Your trademark is already on it, according to a glance at the magazine of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. When asked how much he will miss the chancellor, the vice chancellor presses his fingertips together to form a “Merkel diamond”.