26 Mar 2020, 14:07
Rachel Waldholz

Climate slides on Germans' list of concerns, Merkel's party reaps credit for corona response - poll

RTL / n-tv

A new poll finds support for Angela Merkel’s conservative coalition has risen sharply as the coronavirus pandemic has hit Germany, while concern over the urgency of climate action has plummeted. According to the latest results from the RTL/ntv-Trendbarometer tracking survey reported by news website n-tv, Merkel’s governing CDU/CSU coalition has 36 percent support, followed by the Green Party at 17 percent. They are followed by the Social Democrats (SPD) at 16 percent, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) at 9 percent, the Left Party at 8 percent and the pro-business Free Democrats at 6 percent. That’s a major change from just three weeks ago, when Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens were almost tied in the same survey: on March 7, The CDU/CSU coalition polled at 26 percent while the Greens polled at 24 percent. The new numbers represent the highest level of support for the CDU/CSU since Germany’s 2017 federal elections, while the Greens are at their lowest point since September 2018.

More voters trust Merkel’s party to handle the crisis than any other party, the poll found:  40 percent of Germans say the CDU/CSU is the best at dealing with current problems, up 12 percent from last week. Only five percent say the Greens are the best, placing them below the SPD (7%) for the first time this year. Forty-three percent do not trust any party to solve current problems.

The coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed other concerns, including climate change, the survey found. Sixty-eight percent of respondents called the coronavirus crisis the most important problem for the country right now and 31 percent are worried about the economic fallout from the pandemic. Other topics have fallen in importance: 13 percent of respondents said they are concerned about foreigners and refugees, while just 9 percent cited climate change and the environment. Less than a year ago, in August 2019, 37 percent of respondents called climate change one of the most important problems for Germany. 

The Green Party has until now seen surging support in Germany, driven by growing concern about climate change. They took second place in last May’s European elections, beating the SPD. But observers say the coronavirus crisis might have a similar impact to the financial crisis ten years ago, when economic concerns drove climate change off the agenda.

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