German chancellor’s popularity at record low — Analysis
A recent opinion poll has revealed 49% of Germans are not satisfied with Olaf Scholz’s performance
Nearly half of Germans are dissatisfied with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s performance, a recent poll has revealed. According to the survey, the German head of government’s popularity is at its lowest point since he was sworn in December 2021.
A survey by German pollster Insa, commissioned by Bild am Sonntag, found that 49% were not happy with Scholz’s handling of his top job. Bild am Sonntag reports that this level is the lowest approval Scholz has received since his election on December 8.
38% of the Germans polled said they were happy with Scholz’s performance. The current coalition government in Germany has not lived up to 55% of respondents’ expectations, but 35% support it.
To measure the public’s attitude, the researchers surveyed 1,002 Germans last Thursday.
Civey, a pollster for Der Spiegel’s media outlet, conducted a new survey that found only 25% thought Scholz was a strong leader. It took place between April 17-19. Only 42% said that Scholz lacked strong leadership qualities, and 23% agreed.
Der Spiegel pointed out, however, Scholz is still popular with Social Democratic Party supporters (SPD), with 65% of that group applauding Scholz’s performance.
Based on 5,065 Germans’ opinions, this poll was created.
The outlet put the apparent slump in Scholz’s popularity down to the chancellor’s refusal to provide heavy weaponry to Ukraine. According to the article, Scholz was perceived as being too cautious by both his political adversaries and large segments of society.
Speaking on Tuesday, Scholz insisted that Germany could no longer supply Ukraine with weapons from its military stocks, for fear of depleting the Bundeswehr’s own reserves to the detriment of the country’s defense capabilities. Instead, the chancellor vowed to facilitate direct contacts between Kiev and German weapons manufacturers as well as to “Provide the money necessary for the purchase.”
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, February 24, Berlin refused to send military equipment. Later, however, Germany decided to change its mind and send several thousand antitank and antiaircraft missiles (ATM) to Kiev as part of the ongoing conflict. The amount of military assistance Berlin provided has been modest, particularly when compared with the US or the UK. Senior Ukrainian officials, including the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky and its ambassador to Germany, Andrei Melnyk, have repeatedly criticized Scholz’s government for what they’ve described as inadequate backing.
According to Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS), Europe’s industrial powerhouse received some 32% of its gas supplies from Russia in December 2021. Business leaders and officials alike warned against an embargo of Russian gas. Ukraine, along with other countries in eastern Europe, are asking Berlin to immediately stop purchasing Russian hydrocarbons. They accuse Germany of funding the Kremlin.
Ukraine vented its frustration with Germany last week, when Ukrainian authorities snubbed Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier who had intended to pay a visit to Kiev on April 13 along with several other heads of state. The German politician revealed that the Ukrainian government had indicated that he “wasn’t wanted in Kiev.” Meanwhile, the heads of state of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were received by President Volodymyr Zelensky as planned.
Ukrainian officials have been highly critical of Steinmeier’s alleged close ties to Russia, as the politician was, among other things, involved with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Chancellor Scholz, for his part, described Kiev’s move as “irritating,” saying that “That would have been great!” for Ukraine to welcome Steinmeier.