(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s conservatives lost voter support after the bloc’s candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor stumbled in his handling of floods that devastated large swathes of Germany.
The CDU/CSU’s lead over the Greens narrowed to nine percentage points after the group’s backing fell two points to 28% in a Forsa poll for RTL/ntv, the first to partially take in the impact of last week’s flooding.
Armin Laschet, the premier of hard-hit North Rhine-Westphalia and the Christian Democrat-led bloc’s candidate, was pilloried over the weekend for laughing in the background as the German president solemnly offered condolences for the flood’s victims.
“Even after his appearances in the areas affected by the flood disaster, he remains largely devoid of contour and color,” Manfred Guellner, head of the Forsa polling institute, said in an email. “The candidate’s weakness has led to a renewed decline in sympathy for his party.”
The conservatives will likely hope an aid package that’s due to be signed off by Merkel’s cabinet later on Wednesday can shift the debate.
After touring a flood-ravaged town near Bonn with Laschet, Merkel promised prompt financial support for rebuilding efforts. Laschet said his state would double the amount.
While the catastrophe put climate change at the top of the public agenda, the Greens have so far failed to capitalize, with support steady at 19%. The Social Democrats picked up one point to 16%.
The business-friendly FDP was flat at 12%, while the far-right AfD gained one point to 10%. The Left party was unchanged at 7%.
For the poll, Forsa surveyed 2,503 people between July 13 and July 19, with a margin of error of +/-2.5 points. The floods started on July 14.
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