The loudest rejoicing in the Willy-Brandt-Haus breaks out on Saturday night when the result of the runner-up is announced. Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans received 21 percent of the votes – nearly 45,000 Social Democrats voted for the two.
Olaf Scholz and Klara Geywitz came in first, they lived up to their role as favorites. But Esken and Walter Borjans are just behind, about 3,500 votes lie between the two teams, which now make up the SPD chairmanship in the run-off election.
Esken was the joy to see before the announcement of the result. On the edge of the stage in the SPD headquarters, the Bundestag member beamed across the face and enthusiastically punched Walter Borjans in the upper arm. The former Minister of Finance of North Rhine-Westphalia was initially relaxed. After the first TV interviews he also showed emotions and embraced his campaign manager and other familiar people enthusiastically.
The first round of the candidate race of the SPD is over. The sensation, a retirement of Scholz, has failed. Interim boss Malu Dreyer and Secretary General Lars Klingbeil praised the procedure on this evening effusively: The effort was worthwhile, the SPD changed and showed passion, according to Klingbeil.
But the turnout was rather mau. Just 53 percent of the SPD members have voted. In view of the expectations which the party leadership itself has fueled, this is not particularly intoxicating – even though the comrades point out that in the Green Party 2017 only 59 percent of the members took part in the primary election of the top candidates.
But in the SPD itself there was even more engagement a year and a half ago: at the GroKo decision in the spring of 2018, 76 percent of the SPD members cast their votes. This time, the enthusiasm of the party was obviously limited. Which should also be due to the candidates.
In recent days, some in the SPD even feared that participation could be below 50 percent. It did not get that bad. Nevertheless, it remains to be stated that almost 47 percent of the comrades renounced the option to elect their new chairmen.
Scholz against polarization
The question now is whether in the run-off election really more members join in, what the party leadership is about. However, it is also possible that participation will fall significantly in November. That could happen if those Social Democrats, who this time chose Ralf Stegner, Christina Kampmann or Karl Lauterbach, find none of the two duos in the runoff election convincing – and there is no escalation.
That could not be so bad for Scholz and Geywitz. They stand for the current course of the party and have their supporters in the camp of pragmatists who are in favor of remaining in the Grand Coalition. "We need a strong SPD who dares to do something that dares to win elections," said Scholz on Saturday night. He does not want to polarize, but merge the SPD. In the ballot, "everyone should advertise for themselves and not against others".
Kühnert sees directional decision
This course – no polarization, no duo confrontation – is dangerous for Esken and Walter Borjans. They should only have a chance if they attack and show what they actually do differently, how they want to change the SPD.
One who supports the challengers has already given the course. Before the party is a "direction decision," wrote Juso CEO Kevin Kühnert on Twitter. For him as well as for Saskia Esken it is clear: The SPD is to leave the grand coalition. She sees "actually no chance," said Esken, with the Union to find a common level for upcoming issues.
Walter Borjans, on the other hand, has not yet decided. The 67-year-old also exercises significant criticism of the GroKo. But he also says he does not give up hope. The former NRW Finance Minister wants to try to put content to Scholz – with demands for a more left course, such as in tax and economic policy.
But it seems unlikely that he will be able to hold this course without a clear plea for or against the GroKo. The right dispute in the SPD has just begun.
You want to answer the Sunday question for the covenant? Vote here:
How does the Civey method work?
The opinion research institute Civey works with a multi-level fully automated procedure. All representative real-time surveys are in a Germany-wide
Network out of more than 20,000 websites played ("Riversampling"), so it is not only users of SPIEGEL ONLINE interviewed. Anyone can participate in the surveys online and will be included in the representative result with their answers if they have registered. From these users, Civey draws a quoted sample that ensures that it matches the population, for example, in terms of age, gender and population density. Finally, in a third step, the results are weighted by other attendees' socio-demographic factors and attitudes to correct distortions and prevent manipulation. More information can be found in the Civey FAQ.
Why is a registration required?
The registration helps to weigh the answers, thus allowing a result for the surveys, which is representative of the voting population in Germany. Each participant is asked for their gender, year of birth and place of residence. After that, everyone can give their opinion on different topics in further surveys.
How are the results representative?
The answer of each participant is weighted so that the result of a survey is representative of the population. For the Sunday question and the government monitor, this population comprises the population entitled to vote in Germany. The weighting is done fully automatically on the basis of the personal details at the registration as well as the history of earlier answers of a user. More methodological details can be found in the Civey whitepaper.
Will you reach enough participants online?
Opinion polls are usually conducted by phone or online. The significance of the results depends on how many people can be reached and how many actually participate in a survey when they are approached. Internet connections and landline connections are currently about equally widespread in Germany – with about 90 percent of households, mobile phones even 95 percent. The willingness to participate in all methods in the single-digit percentage range, experts estimate it particularly low for telephone surveys. So there is a group of people in both methods, which can not be achieved, either because they have no connection to the respective network or not want to participate in the survey. Therefore, a significant number of people must always be approached for a meaningful result. Civey surveys are currently in addition to SPIEGEL ONLINE in more than 20,000 other websites involved, including various media. This ensures that as many populations as possible can be reached.
How do I recognize the goodness of a result?
Until the result of a survey becomes representative, enough different people have to participate. Whether this is already successful, makes Civey transparent, in that for each survey result a statistical error probability is specified. The number of participants and the interview time are also published for each survey.
What does it mean when the colored areas in the graphics overlap?
In our graphs, the statistical error is shown as a colored interval. This interval shows the uncertainty associated with a poll score. For example, on the Sunday question, one can not say exactly how many percent a party would get in a poll, but specify an interval where the outcome is likely to be. If the intervals of two survey values overlap, then strictly speaking no statements about the difference can be made. For the Sunday question this means: If the poll numbers of two parties are so close together that their error intervals overlap, it can not be deduced from which of the two would currently perform better in the election.
What happens to my data?
Who's behind Civey polls?
At this point, readers in the app and on the mobile / stationary website have the opportunity to participate in a representative Civey survey. Civey is an online opinion research institute based in Berlin. To compile its representative surveys, the software of the company, founded in 2015, merges websites into a nationwide survey network. In addition to SPIEGEL ONLINE include, among other things, the "Tagesspiegel", "World", "Wirtschaftswoche" and "Rheinische Post". Civey was funded by the ProFit funding program of Investitionsbank Berlin and the European Regional Development Fund.