Weaver a party scratches the absolute majority in a state election. What the SPD achieved in Saarland with 43.5 percent was due to the failure of the FDP and the Greens at the five percent hurdle. In Schleswig-Holstein, the CDU achieved the same share of the vote, but not enough seats in the state parliament to govern alone. Again, however, it is a state election in which the voters were primarily concerned with who governs the country: This is clearly the incumbent from the CDU, who the supporters of practically all parties concede high values in terms of credibility and expertise.
It is the Günther effect of the CDU. Just a few days before the election, polls showed the party at 36 to 38 percent. The pollsters were probably not wrong at this point in time, it is much more likely that there was a final mobilization in favor of the prime minister and his party. The CDU carried the escalation on the question of who governs well over 40 percent. More than every second voted because of Günther for the CDU. With 78 percent of the population as a whole, he achieved approval that, shortly before an election, was even slightly higher than that of the already very popular state fathers of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, and Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff.
The voters apparently saw no alternative – neither in the case of the Greens nor the SPD. Thomas Losse-Müller, whom the Social Democrats wanted to make head of government, enjoyed less support among his own supporters than Günther, as shown by the post-election surveys by Infratest Dimap and the Wahlen research group. The fact that the party did not even get higher approval ratings than the CDU when it came to rent is significant – and a sign of failure beyond the hapless candidate.
Many CDU voters can’t do anything with Merz
In a very big way, the CDU won voters who voted for the SPD in 2017. The Greens also got votes from the SPD, but their result did not grow to the heights they had dreamed of at the beginning of the election campaign. They fell far short of their goal of moving into the state chancellery. Only one in ten voted for the party because of top candidate Monika Heinold – five years ago, when today’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck was still leading the Greens in Kiel, he acted like a magnet for his party. The quiet finance minister was out of the question for the people as prime minister, as was Losse-Müller, who failed to inspire the SPD. Günther’s success is also an expression of this lack of alternatives. None came even close to being perceived as an alternative. A serious part of the SPD voters from 2017 stayed at home this time, which should also explain the lower turnout.
The federal CDU sees the election success in Kiel as confirmation of the course of party leader Friedrich Merz, but there can be no question of a tailwind from Berlin: not even every second CDU voter sees Merz as the right party leader for the next few years, just one Third believes that he would have grown to become Chancellor. One could almost think that some of the voters would have voted for the party despite Merz.
Was that a vote on Scholz?
A state election is a state election, not a vote on the federal government. This is how the Social Democrats in Berlin wanted the people of Schleswig-Holstein to be understood. Even if one did not want to openly blame Losse-Müller, it was said that the candidate was not well known, that it was possibly chosen too late, that the topics could not get through – the Ukraine war and Corona before that had overlaid so much.