Merkel’s top challenger suffers popularity slump
BERLIN - Agence France-PresseGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel’s challenger in this year’s general elections has seen his popularity crumble after saying the top job paid too little, a poll showed Jan. 11.
Peer Steinbrueck, who heads the opposition Social Democrats’ (SPD) ticket in elections in September, has slumped to a 36-percent approval rating among voters, according to the survey for ARD public television and Die Welt daily. Meanwhile Merkel, who is fighting for a third term at the helm of Europe’s top economy, has crept up to 65 percent and continues to top the popularity poll, compared to Steinbrueck’s 10th place.
Steinbrueck’s electoral campaign has been overshadowed by blunders and revelations he was paid some 1.25 million euros over three years for making speeches at private functions. The former finance minister came under fire when he told a Sunday newspaper last month that German chancellors, who take home around 17,000 euros a month, were not paid well enough.