Overall, Germans like their new chancellor and her power-sharing government but have their doubts whether she can heal the country's economic woes, according to a new poll.
Something to smile about: Voters like Merkel, and the coalition
A clear majority of respondents -- 59 percent -- said in a survey for ARD public television that they were satisfied with Merkel's work as chancellor since she was elected by parliament last week, two months after a general election.
The rating made Merkel, Germany's first female leader, the country's most popular politician.
One in two Germans -- 52 percent -- thought the start of the "grand coalition" government grouping Merkel's Christian Democrats and her predecessor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats had been a success.
Germans believe the chancellor can bring about change
Sixty-one percent said they believed the government "could truly change something" in the country.
Pessimism o n eco n omy
But when asked about the most pressing economic problems, Germans appeared more pessimistic.
Sixty-nine percent said they did not think the administration could lower the 11-percent unemployment rate while almost as many thought it would fail to repair the creaking pension system.
Sixty-one percent did not believe the government would succeed in bringing the public deficit in line with European Union rules capping it at 3.0 percent of gross domestic product.
And early one in two -- 47 percent -- thought it would fail to rejuvenate the ailing economy.
Reform pla n s favored
But the new administration won points for its plans to reform the unwieldy federal system (75 percent approval) and for the broad strokes of its foreign policy (85 percent).
In the end, Schröder's election strategy backfired
Schröder called new elections in May to gain fresh backing for his economic reform drive. His Social Democrats narrowly lost to the Christian Democrats, forcing the political rivals into a rare left-right government.
The poll was conducted by independent research institute Infratest dimap among 1,000 people.