i'm ignorant on Merkel. Can I hear thoughts about her? Only ones I've seen are from the cesspool(s) known as the RT comment section
I tried to explain her to a friend the other day and it went something like this: She's like a river pebble. She has no refining edges or sharp angles and she will usually go where the flow of majority opinion takes her. That being said, she is also resilient and sturdy. She projects the picture of stability and consistency, but actually moves quite a lot, albeit slowly.
She has singlehandedly moved the CDU so much into the center that even liberal people just kind of shrug and go: 'I guess she's ok.' She STILL to this date greatly benefits from Job market and economy reforms introduced by the central-left/green coalition under Schroeder and will admit to that gleefully.
Those same reforms combined with the splintering off the far left wing of the SPD and the first 'great coalition' under Merkel is what sunk the SPDs traditional values in the eyes of many left and far left voters, while Merkel constistently dug into the central left side of the party and carved out voters from there.
A lot of the same goes for the green parties tanking votes, after they, in the eyes of many of their traditional supporter base, sacrificed their own values to gain power and entered a rather disastrous coalition with the CDU in the state of Hamburg. They had very little to show for it when the state government fell apart there, other than having enabled a potentially disatrous cole-fired power station, with river cooling and further artificial deepening of that same river, both of with they had heavily campaigned against during the election. It spooked many of their steadfast trational voterbase, with little alternative to turn to. Additionally to that they showed growing conservative values in other states as well, wich was wierd to see from a former anti-establishment party to say the least.
While an SPD/Left party/green coalition would have been feasible in the last few elections, it didn't come to pass because of infighting between the parties and rather petty grudges being held.
So Merkel gratly benefits from being so moldable, never showing much of a profile beyond 'reliable' and a very weak compitition that more or less self-distructed in a couple of ways.
On a side note, I sincerly hope that those AFD votes on the thread poll are troll votes. They are a nothing of an incompetent mess of a party, composed of very little other than actual former Nazi offspring, neo Nazis and raging xenophobia, sexism, fear-mongering and anti-european values. As some others here pointed out their actual election program offers very little of value, and the fact that they are polling as high as they are (in the real polls) despite germany being an economically well-off country with low unemployment rates and a healthy middle class is appalling.