Germany's mass-selling newspaper Bild openly questioned whether voters have had enough of Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday after a poll showed the Social Democrats (SPD) pulling ahead of her conservatives.
"Is Germany tired of Merkel?" Bild asked in a headline after a survey for the newspaper by pollster INSA put the centre-left SPD on 31 percent and Merkel's conservative bloc on 30 percent.
The SPD, junior partner in Merkel's ruling "grand coalition", has been trailing the conservative CDU/CSU bloc - known as the "Union" - for years in opinion polls. It last won an election under Gerhard Schroeder in 2002.
But the SPD has been re-energised by its appointment of Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president who came home to enter German politics, as its new leader last week.
He replaced Sigmar Gabriel, who said he was standing aside to boost the party's chances.