BERLIN, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Less than two months before Germans elect a new federal parliament (Bundestag) in September, a "Stern-RTL Wahltrend" poll published on Wednesday suggests that Angela Merkel is likely to cruise to her fourth term as chancellor.
Conservative sister parties Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) both defended their lead with a combined 40 percent of electoral support. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former president of the European parliament Martin Schulz, stagnated at 22 percent.
After an initial surge in support when he took the reins of the SPD in March 2017, Schulz has struggled to translate the so-called "Schulz effect" into a lasting electoral following.
The SPD has since suffered defeats in three state elections in Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia, raising questions over his ability to successfully compete with Merkel.
Merkel continues to enjoy a significant advantage over other candidates in the category of whom survey respondents would vote for if they could cast a direct ballot for the chancellorship. After holding German chancellery for 12 years, Merkel can still count of the support of 52 percent of voters.
The Left party (Linke) stood at 9 percent, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) was tied with the Green party (Gruene) at 8 percent respectively and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was last with 7 percent of the vote.
Accordingly, both a coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD, as well as a pact between the CDU/CSU and the FDP or Green party would be possibilities for a new government in autumn.