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Poll: Merkel's conservatives in dead heat with challenger

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/04/2017
Maltese opposition Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil, left, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European People’s Party congress, in St. Julian's, Malta, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud) © The Associated Press Maltese opposition Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil, left, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European People’s Party congress, in St. Julian's, Malta, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)

BERLIN — A regular poll of German voters shows the nationalist Alternative for Germany party slipping further amid infighting in its ranks, while Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc and its main challenger, the Social Democrats, remain in a dead heat.

The Emnid Sunday poll for the Bild newspaper showed both major parties' support unchanged at 33 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The Social Democrats have been boosted in the polls since nominating Martin Schulz in January as Merkel's rival for the chancellery in the September election. That failed to translate to electoral success, however, in a state vote in Saarland last week, which Merkel's conservative party easily won.

The nationalist AfD fell one point to 8 percent, its lowest level in more than a year.

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