However, a series of gaffes and scandals surrounding Barbock have eroded the party’s support since those violent days, dropping by ten points.
It looks like Schulz will be the big winner if the recent polls are correct. Traditionally, the SPD has been one of the two main parties in Germany along with the CDU, the only other party to have offered a chancellor after the war.
But until two months ago, most political critics in Germany viewed the SPD as a shadow of what it once was.
Most recently, on June 30, it was struggling in third place on just 14 percent in opinion polls, behind the CDU on 30 percent and the Greens on 20 percent.
Since then, the party has made one of its most notable political comebacks in recent years even as the CDU and the Greens faltered.
While the SPD briefly took the lead in rival opinion polls in 2017, this is the first time the party has topped the prestigious Opportunity poll since 2006.
Senior figures within the party and political analysts agree that the return of the SPD is almost entirely due to Schulz, the vice chancellor and currently finance minister in Merkel’s coalition government.
Rely on Scholz
Schulz consistently outperforms his rivals when Germans are asked who they would vote for if Germany had a US-style presidential system, more popular than his party.
“Obviously we’re counting on Olaf Schultz,” party campaign manager Lars Klingbeil said recently. “He is the right man for Germany.”