* SPD's Steinbrueck admits not popular with women voters
* Candidate for chancellor says will not change his style
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN, Nov 25 Peer Steinbrueck, leading his
centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) party into September's federal
election against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, admitted that
he has a problem with women voters and said he would not change
to appeal to them.
"It may well be the case that I come across as too cerebral
and not emotional enough for women between the age of 18 to
their early 40s," he said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag
newspaper published on Sunday.
"I'm not going to turn into 'Cuddly Peer' because of that.
It wouldn't seem genuine in a role like that," he said.
Political analysts and pollsters say Steinbrueck's abrasive
style has alienated women voters. He compounded his problems by
failing to pick any women for team of four top advisers.
The SPD is about 10 points behind Merkel's Christian
Democrats in most opinion polls ahead of the 2013 election.
An Emnid poll on Sunday in Bild am Sonntag showed the
conservatives would win 38 percent in an election now while the
SPD were at 29 percent. Steinbrueck hopes to form a centre-left
coalition with the Greens, who scored 15 percent in the poll.
But the SPD-Greens coalition would fall short of winning a
majority, as would Merkel's conservatives and their coalition
partners, the Free Democrats (FDP). The FDP would win only 4
percent and fall below the 5 percent threshold needed for seats.
Steinbrueck also said he was confident the centre-left could
oust Merkel even though Europe's largest economy is in good
shape with unemployment falling and tax revenues rising.
"People see things are getting out of balance in this
country," Steinbrueck said when asked why German voters should
elect a new leader. "They want more 'we' and less 'me'. They
want more social cohesion, they want more cooperation."
Steinbrueck said he would soon meet with leaders of the
Greens to discuss a joint "SPD-Greens" campaign in 2013.
German parties traditionally campaign on their own but
sometimes get a boost by joining others on a coalition ticket.
"We should meet to talk about it because our two parties
want to rule together," Steinbrueck said.