The tv duel for the federal election: how merkel and schulz were received by the audience

The tv duel for the federal election: how merkel and schulz were received by the audience

The TV duel between german chancellor angela merkel and challenger martin schulz was seen in advance as a showdown between the candidates of the two major german parties. After the duel on sunday evening, the question remains: who won, who was more convincing?? Were either of the two able to attract new voters to their side? Or does everything remain the same?

Freiburg researchers offered viewers the opportunity to vote for the candidates on the debate-o-meter during the broadcast. Over 20.000 people took the chance – and thus provide a good overview of the mood during the broadcast. These are the most important results:

The most important topics

The topic of refugees and asylum took up a lot of space, and not only within the TV duel. It's important to voters, too: 24.3 percent of respondents said asylum was the most pressing issue in germany right now. In second place comes the issue of safety (20.6 percent). For 17.3 percent, social justice is most important.

The candidates' assessment

Even before the TV duel, angela merkel was in a better position than martin schulz among the respondents. According to researchers from freiburg, CDU supporters are more united behind merkel than SPD supporters are behind their candidate. The decisive factor, however, is the undecided voters: and there, both candidates were about equal before the duel.

The first overview: who came out better?
Merkel is rated more positively before the duel in terms of likeability, credibility and competence than schulz, who is rated neutral overall.

The issues – where the candidates scored points

Overall: merkel wins across all participants. Schulz wins among undecideds.

Presentation round: merkel wins across all participants. Schulz can score points with the undecideds.

Migration: schulz performs slightly better among all participants, but significantly better among the undecideds.

Aubenpolitik: merkel wins over all participants. Schulz can score with the undecideds.

Social justice: merkel wins over all, schulz can clearly win among the undecideds.

Yes-no round: merkel wins across the board, schulz clearly wins among the undecideds

internal security: in this issue area, merkel can win with all 10 as well as the undecideds.

Merkel can convince the entire electorate. Schulz wins among the undecideds. Schulz convincing on migration issue. Merkel wins in the internal security field.

The tops and flops of the candidates

The best score of all participants was achieved by angela merkel in the topic area of migration resp. Integration with the call for "zero tolerance against islam not conforming to the german constitution (debate minute approx. 25:38). Her worst score was in the area of immigration policy, when she stated that germany had a legal obligation to allow families to join them and that germany still had some catching up to do in this respect (debate minute ca. 42:27). The undecideds also strongly rejected this statement. For the undecideds, merkel's best position was on domestic security, when she said a clear no to terrorism and stood up for a free way of life (debate minute)
ca. 1:26:14).

The best results for martin schulz were also to be seen in the area of migration: firstly, when he said that people who wanted to restrict other fundamental rights in the name of religious freedom had "no place in germany" (debate minute approx. 27:40). And secondly, when he announces that as chancellor he will break off EU accession negotiations with turkey (debate minute ca. 26:35). This assessment was shared by all participants and also the undecideds. Rejected by participants was the attack on merkel in the internal security field when he called her the "black or red peter game accused (debate minute ca. 1:33:20). Schulz received his worst score from the undecideds when he described islam as a religious community "like any other called (debate minute ca. 22:20).

The most important results at a glance

As the duel progressed, the number of undecideds decreased significantly. Both the CDU/CSU and the SPD gain in electoral favorability in debat-O-meter after the duel – but the SPD benefits slightly more. Both candidates can gain in sympathy, credibility and competence ratings. Schulz, however, benefits more strongly, although he remains behind the chancellor when seen across all participants. The situation is different among the undecideds: here, schulz pulls ahead of 16 merkel. Both receive strong support from their own camps, although merkel is less opposed in the SPD camp than schulz is.

Chronology – read about the most important events

97 minutes of TV duel between chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and challenger martin schulz (SPD). What stood out:

20.15 o'clock: the first question goes to schulz. "Why is it that so many citizens don't want to trust them??" The candidate points to the poll high shortly after his nomination, but now hopes for the undecideds. He wants to convince them.

20.24 o'clock:in september 2015, she did everything right, says chancellor. At the time, they loved refugees from hungary coming to germany. "I think this is the right thing to do this night."

20.36 o'clock: "beyond right or wrong there is one place. Meet you there." The SPD candidate waxes poetic and quotes a persian scholar on the duel topic of islam.

20.41 a.M.: schulz goes on the attack on turkey: "if i become chancellor, i will (…) break off turkey's accession negotiations with the european union."

20.42 o'clock: how do you feel about religion?? When asked if they were both in church on sunday, merkel first denied it. Schulz says he visited the grave of journalist frank schirrmacher. The chancellor follows suit: "i was in a church yesterday because it was the anniversary of my father's death."

21.00 o'clock: the chancellor seems to be more cautious than her challenger about breaking off accession negotiations with turkey: she wants to embed it in decisions of the EU "whether we can come to a common position and also end these accession negotiations".

21.6 p.M.: "À la bonne heure!" Merkel had a clear position for the first time this evening, says schulz. The chancellor laughs. In the duel before the retirement at 70, she had a very clear "no." Given.

21.9 p.M.: schulz reiterates that a car toll will not come with him as chancellor. Here the opponents have different points of view. The SPD leader and merkel argue about how exactly the vote on the toll came about in the bundesrat.

21.36 o'clock: the quick question round starts. Schulz sticks to the call for short yes/no answers on gay marriage, the soccer world championship in qatar and dual citizenship, but then gives a more detailed explanation on the subject of rosneft and former chancellor gerhard schroder.

21.47 o'clock: schulz becomes a questioner: who is the german flat country with the highest crime rate, he wants to know from merkel. And he answers right away: saxony-anhalt.

21.49 o'clock: what all happens in sixty seconds? Schulz pays in his last sentences about what a nurse or a manager earns in a minute. Also: what a tweet can do in this day and age. His closing words, however, do not fit into sixty seconds – he goes over the top.

21.50 o'clock: the chancellor then addresses the audience directly. Her topic: the digital revolution. She solicits both votes for her CDU. She finishes with: "have a nice evening."

Questions and answers about the TV duel

After the duel is before the duel. On 24. September will decide in the federal election whether chancellor angela merkel is ahead with the union or whether SPD challenger martin schulz has managed to catch up after all. Sunday night's TV duel was considered by many to be the deciding factor in the race. The most important questions and answers on the outcome of the TV showdown:

Who won?
Cheers from martin schulz's supporters, pretty printed mood in angela merkel's corner in the tv studio after the exchange of blows. But was the first reaction in the studio only the inside view of experts? Surveys of viewers by ARD and ZDF, which are considered to be representative, paint a partly different picture.

Thus, a flash poll by ARD infratest dimap saw the chancellor with 55 percent clearly ahead of the challenger with 35 percent in the question of who the viewers found more convincing. Never before in her time in office has she been so far ahead of a challenger. She also won on the substantive issues. According to an analysis by the wahlen research group for ZDF, for 32 percent of viewers merkel did better overall, for 29 percent it was the SPD leader. However, the research group also spoke of a stalemate and a positively surprising schulz.

Was it really exciting, as you would expect from a duel??
Left-wing faction leader dietmar bartsch didn't find it all that exciting. That's why he kept flipping back and forth to the volleyball match between germany and russia. Show host thomas gottschalk was irritated that the two had nodded to each other so often. And media scientist bernd gabler said the broadcast was "lifeless and free of any surprise been. But there have already been a few exciting moments. For example, when schulz took merkel by surprise with his about-face on turkey policy or provoked her on the subject of retirement at 70.

Did schulz use his supposed last chance in the election campaign?
In any case he did not give it away. SPD justice minister heiko maas says: "the duel will give martin schulz and the entire SPD a boost." Schulz may have succeeded in mobilizing his own people for the last three weeks before the election. Whether it will be enough to catch up is questionable, however. Frank brettschneider, communications scientist at the university of hohenheim, says: "many commonalities, few differences. Certainly not the start of a race to catch up for martin schulz." The SPD is between 13 and 18 percentage points behind the union in the polls.

Can merkel lean back now?
Quite clearly: no. Even before the duel, merkel had warned against being too confident of victory, given her months-long lead over the SPD in the polls. Your concern: many supporters were unable to vote on the 24th. September stay home because they think the election is already decided anyway. And although it was already being said in the CDU before the battle with schulz that such a duel usually benefits the unknown challenger, merkel now saw even less reason to lean back.

Which issues can still make a difference in the election campaign??
How hard to deal with turkish president recep tayyip erdogan? This will continue to play a role in the election campaign. The SPD has decided to take as hard a line as possible and wants to push merkel ahead of it.

What about the undecideds?
Schulz has long been counting on drawing the undecided voters to his side in the three weeks until the election. The polls after the duel do not show a clear picture of the impression merkel and schulz have made on those who supposedly do not yet know for whom they will decide. According to ZDF, schulz made the better overall impression on 29 percent of respondents with uncertain voting intentions, while merkel made the better impression on 25 percent. For 46 percent, however, both were on the same level – the duel must not have been of any help to them in deciding the election. According to ARD, however, 48 percent of the undecideds found merkel more convincing, schulz only 36 percent.

The smaller parties will have their say in similar events?
Yes. Tomorrow, the leading candidates from the left, the greens, the afd, the FDP and the CSU will appear on ARD in prime time. But the ratings will certainly be lower. There will not be a second TV duel between merkel and schulz. Merkel did not want this.

The TV duel – how other politicians saw the exchange of blows

Union faction leader volker kauder does not see the federal election as decided after the TV duel with her SPD challenger martin schulz, despite good poll ratings for chancellor angela merkel. CDU and CSU now enter final spurt of election campaign with great confidence, CDU politician told deutsche presse-agentur in berlin. But he warned: "we also know that the election will not be decided in a TV duel."

He calls the tv duel fair. "Democrats must argue, but they must not demean themselves. (…) the TV duel was exemplary in this respect." Kauder himself said, however, that it had become clear "that mr. Schulz cannot hold a candle to angela merkel in this difficult world situation.

He said it was important for politicians to address many voters directly in the next three weeks. "Together, all of us in the country must make sure that the democratic culture in germany is preserved.", said kauder. Unfortunately, a party that is seeking to enter the bundestag for the first time is opposing democratic culture and kicking it with "intolerable provocations with pigeons", kauder said, without naming the alternative for germany.

Left-wing top candidate dietmar bartsch called the TV duel between chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and SPD challenger martin schulz a "rough coalitional therapy talk criticized. "Martin schulz has not distanced himself from the union", bartsch told the german press agency in berlin. The head of the left-wing parliamentary group accused schulz of wanting to support a continuation of the black-red coalition as a junior partner after the federal election.

"I kept switching over to the volleyball match between germany and russia, which was definitely much more exciting", said bartsch. The duel was merely a "rough coalitional sham fight" had been seen. Bartsch accused schulz of only advocating a halt to EU accession negotiations with turkey because it was popular. There was no talk at all about poverty among the elderly and children in germany. For him, the duel does not change anything in the final phase of the election campaign, said bartsch. The motto was: "maximizing votes – because social justice has one address: the left."

After the TV duel, the greens accused SPD chancellor candidate martin schulz of a lack of ideas for the future. "It was to be expected that (chancellor angela) merkel would not provide any impetus for change, but neither did martin schulz provide any impetus for real social and ecological change in these dramatic times," she said, top candidate katrin goring-eckardt told the german press agency. "Environmental protection and other issues for the future, such as digitization and education, are simply ignored despite all the topicality." On sunday evening, merkel and her challenger schulz had not fought a duel, but a duet.

FDP leader christian lindner expressed his disappointment at sunday evening's TV duel between chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and SPD challenger martin schulz. "The duel was reminiscent of scenes from an old marriage in which there is some friction, but both sides know that they will have to continue to live together in the future," argued the FDP leader, lindner told the german press agency. "That was more about the past than a debate about the future of our country." Not a word about the major challenges facing our state, such as education, digitization, the euro and innovation.

Lindner added: "everyone wants ms. Merkel to remain chancellor, the race for seats 1 and 2 is over. The race for 3rd place thus gains further significance." Because the third strongest force will either have special weight in coalition talks. Or the third force will be the opposition leader against the next grand coalition. "The duel has once again shown that an opposition with more esprit and dynamism is urgently needed", argued the FDP leader.

The chairman of the CDU and CSU's association of small and medium-sized businesses, carsten linnemann, told the deutsche presse-agentur that the debate had been fundamentally exciting with a feisty opponent. "Schulz is rhetorically skilled, a master of pithy words. But his problem is that his objections did not fall on fertile ground. After all, the SPD in the bundestag has always supported the decisions of the grand coalition."

Merkel has once again shown herself to be a politician with a cool head and level-headedness, coupled with a high level of expertise, said linnemann. In addition, she had made it clear in her closing statement that she wanted to tackle the central challenges of the future, such as digitization.