With Olaf Scholz, Germany's centre-left SPD have managed to turn the tide as the Merkel era was brought to a bruising end for the reigning CDU party in yesterday's federal election. As this infographic shows, the remarkable red surge observed over the last few weeks was largely thanks to the popularity of the SPD's chancellor candidate Scholz - and maybe at least in part the unpopularity of the other contenders.
Only Gerhard Schröder had a higher so-called 'candidate factor' in this century - in the 2002 Bundestag election. But here Schröder, as the incumbent chancellor, had the bonus of already being in office and therefore a known commodity. Since then, Peer Steinbrück, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Martin Schulz were able to exert comparatively little persuasive power on SPD voters.