German business executives prefer Chancellor Angela Merkel over her Social Democratic challenger Martin Schulz by an overwhelming margin, according to a Handelsblatt survey.
Handelsblatt Business Monitor commissioned the Forsa Institute to survey 645 German business executives during the period from February 7 to February 23.
The survey found 66 percent of executives would prefer Ms. Merkel as chancellor compared to just 18 percent for Mr. Schulz. Among the general public, Mr. Schulz is neck-and-neck with Ms. Merkel.
When it comes to economic competence, 74 percent of executives believe Ms. Merkel has a better grasp of the economy, while just 33 percent believe Mr. Schulz has a better understanding.
Mr. Schulz has made income inequality a central issue in his campaign, attacking lavish executive bonuses and promising to roll back labor market reforms.
Though Mr. Schulz has sought to position himself as the candidate of the middle and working classes, Ms. Merkel is favored when it comes to small businesses.
Fifty-seven percent of executives trust Ms. Merkel to act in the interest of small businesses, while just 37 percent trust Mr. Schulz to do so.
A plurality of executives, 41 percent, would prefer a coalition of Ms. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats.
Just 22 percent would prefer a grand coalition of the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats, while 5 percent would support a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Greens.
Read the full story in Wednesday’s paper.