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German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures awaiting arrival of Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

(reuters_tickers)

BERLIN (Reuters) - Support for Germany's Social Democrats is unchanged from a week ago at 31 percent, a poll showed on Wednesday, as their support stagnated after a surge following the nomination last month of Martin Schulz as party leader for September's federal election.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives remained three points ahead of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), with 34 percent, the Forsa survey for Stern magazine and broadcaster RTL showed.

The poll showed Merkel pipping Schulz if there were a direct vote for chancellor, winning by 38 percent to his 37 percent. That result marked a one percentage point rise in support for Merkel from a week ago, with Schulz unchanged.

The SPD, Merkel's junior coalition partner, had been trailing the conservatives for years in opinion polls until the nomination of Schulz sparked a revival in support for the party, which last won an election under Gerhard Schroeder in 2002.

"In order to succeed Chancellor Merkel, Schulz must now present a convincing programme," Forsa chief Manfred Guellner said.

The Forsa put the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) in third place, down one percentage point on the week at 9 percent. The far-left Linke were unchanged on 8 percent and the Greens fell one percentage point to 7 percent.

The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) were at 5 percent.

Forsa polled 2,502 voters from Feb. 5 to Feb. 10.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by David Gregorio)

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