Gerhard Schroeder gains support

Support for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic Party rose to its highest in six months in an opinion poll for ZDF television, two weeks before a national election on Sept.18.

Backing for the Social Democrats rose 2 percentage points from last week to 32 percent, the highest since February, according to the survey, carried out by Mannheim-based Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, ZDF said on its Web site today.

The main opposition Christian Democratic Union, led by Angela Merkel, and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, were unchanged at 43 percent. The Free Democratic Party, their preferred coalition partner, fell 1 point to 7 percent. That would give the parties a combined 50 percent support, enough to form a majority government, according to Bloomberg.

Schroeder's coalition partners, the Greens, also fell 1 point to 7 percent, while the new Left party was unchanged at 8 percent. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they are still unsure how they will vote on Sept. 18.

ZDF didn't immediately provide details of when the poll was carried out. FG Wahlen regularly surveys between 1,000 and 1,500 voters, with a margin of error of between 1.4 and 2.7 percentage points.

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