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German TV Debate: Schröder vs Merkel

by ltl Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 05:24:20 PM EST

promoted by Jerome. See below for the analysis of the aftermath and some polls. Thanks to the German crew for the commentary!

Tonight, starting at 20:30 CET, there will be a 90 minutes live debate between Chancellor Schröder and contender Angela Merkel. The debate will be shown on  four big German TV stations, ARD, ZDF, RTL and Sat.1, with one moderator from each station. According to polls, almost 70% of Germans intend to watch this debate. The election is in two weeks, September 18.

Want to watch?

Links to live streaming video of the debate:
 * Tagesschau (ARD)
 * ZDF

Live-blogging and fact checking by the parties:
 * SPD
 * CDU
 * Grüne

Articles in English:
 * Schröder, Merkel to Face Off in TV Debate (Deutsche Welle)
 * TV debates around the world (Deutsche Welle)

anybody here who is watching? any comments?

I think, the first 30 min were quite lame. And both contenders did not fetch their best day, as it seems.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 02:58:53 PM EST

Merkel's argues along the line of lacking domestic consume while Schröder praises the export situation. What the .. happens here?

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 03:03:06 PM EST
my impression: An awkward debate. Four people asking, two people answering. Not that the four journalists were able to add more substance to the debate...

None of both contenders were able to score a big point. Both were quite weak, sometimes stuttering, confusing words. I'd say that the last TV debates three years ago between Schröder and Stoiber were more important.

Probably the most important effect: Merkel with no major faux pas, looked more relaxed than many people expected.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:12:22 PM EST
Merkel is going to get the bonus of low expectations. She's easily exceeded those. To turn this thing around, Schröder needed to demolish Merkel. That hasn't happened (and was never particularly likely to happen). Overall, I thought this was a better debate than the two matchups  between Schröder and Stoiber three years ago. Too much of those were dominated by a personality issue - Stoiber's irritable and irritating petulance. Merkel has clearly outdone Stoiber. Other than that, the main issues of the debate were the conservatives' tax policies (Schröder won that one) and who was able to project more optimism (chalk one up for Merkel there). Overall, no clear winner, but Merkel wins by default since Schröder had to accomplish much more than she did - and he didn't.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:22:27 PM EST
Merkel has clearly outdone Stoiber.

agreed. And that's exactly why this debate will most probably have less impact than last election's debates where Schröder won over Stoiber.

Look for example at my first source of internet information, spiegel : NOTHING on the upper frontpage about the debate!! Is that purpose or a flaw?

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ok, now they finally have put something up.
by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:52:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spinning begins. Poll numbers from the first half of the debate (infratest dimap):

Q: Who performed better in the debate?

All voters:
Schröder 49 - 38 Merkel

Undecided voters:
Schröder 55 - 22 Merkel

These numbers correspond roughly with the overall personality poll numbers. It remains to be seen if it has some effect on party poll numbers.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:24:15 PM EST
You're right, Schröder will be outpolling Merkel since he's more popular anyway. And you're right again, I too doubt very much that the debate will have a decisive impact on the election.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:43:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poll numbers for the whole debate coming in. Again infratest dimap:

Q: Who had the better arguments?

              S. M.
Pensions  51 37
Family     40 50
Foreign   71 19
Taxes      49 38
Jobs        35 46

Q: Who was more convincing?

Schröder 49 - 33 Merkel

Q: Support before/after debate?

Schröder: 51/54
Merkel: 36/38

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 04:50:13 PM EST
ok, last poll numbers for tonight:

infratest dimap asked 1300 viewers between 10.00 and 10.30 CET:

Was the debate useful for your decision?

Undecided: Yes 46 - 52 No

Who was more convincing?

Undecided: Schröder 56 - 19 Merkel

Quite impressive, also if you take into account that Schröder was - personally - more popular anyway. But in this year's campaign, personality played a minor role - at least until today. I would wait with further comments about the impact of the debate until tomorrow when spinning might have had some effect.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 05:12:57 PM EST
I see from Le Monde that Merkel announced that she would lower the ökosteuer (ecological tax) on gasoline by 3 cents (from the current 15) to lower gas costs.

Why? Why?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2005 at 10:27:40 AM EST
You guys seem to have msotly disappeared from the site... can we expect any countdown diaries in the near future?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2005 at 10:28:36 AM EST
yes, you can!

Actually I do not plan to disappear from this nice site! Its only that during the last two weeks, I had a lot of work. But into the last two weeks before election, you can expect some diaries. Although I can't manage a complete day-to-day countdown.

In the case of jandsm: He told me he has to move to a new apartment in the next week or so. And has to renovate his old one, for that matter. I guess that's what is keeping him from blogging at the moment.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Mon Sep 5th, 2005 at 12:09:07 PM EST
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