The first exit polls for the Lower Saxony state parliament are too close to call. Despite the incumbent David McAllister's personal popularity, the CDU’s coalition partner FDP has been haemorrhaging support – even looking likely to drop out of the parliament entirely, depriving the CDU of a workable coalition partner and power.
However, in the last few days, the polls started to turn in the FDP’s favour. The ZDF (German TV) exit polls are are forecasting a record 9.5% for the FDP and a disappointing 37% for the CDU. The reason for this surprising turn of events seems to be tactical voting - according to the ZDF exit poll, 80% of FDP voters consider themselves CDU supporters.
Had the FDP not received support from CDU voters, they would have not achieved the 5% hurdle to enter the state parliament. Not encouraging for the upcoming national election.
Current estimates show the CDU/FDP and SPD/Green running neck and neck – 73 seats for each possible coalition. ‘Overhang’ seats could decide the election. (see my explanation here – a similar system to the Bundestag elections is used on state level)
Exit Polls, at 6PM German time, via ZDF