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Survey: Support for Chancellor Merkel and CDU drops

Only about 33 percent of respondents in recent opinion polls would choose Germany's ruling CDU and CSU, its Bavarian sibling faction. The surveys also found increased support for the anti-immigrant AfD party.

An opinion poll by Insa that attempted to predict the percentage of votes a party would receive "if elections were to happen next Sunday," showed Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), with only 33 percent support, down one percentage point from the previous survey.

Two other opinion polls, by Emnid and electoral research group Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, showed the CDU-CSU alliance with 35 percent support, also down by one point from polls earlier in March.

Despite the small dip in support for the chancellor, the poll by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen found that 53 percent of respondents support Merkel's refugee policy. Forty-two percent expressed dissatisfaction with the refugee situation in Germany, down from 50 percent in a similar poll conducted in February this year.

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The Forschungsgruppe poll found that 55 percent of respondents believed that the country could manage the challenges posed by the arrival of large numbers of people - the first time a majority had expressed such optimism since December, when 51 percent said Germany was up for the task. In January, 57 percent of respondents said the country could not handle it However, 42 percent of Germans remain skeptical of the idea that Germany is up for such a challenge.

Support for AfD

All three opinion polls found a rise in support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD). An average of 13 percent of respondents said they supported the party. However, 72 percent of the participants said they felt that AfD was shifting further to the right.

Interestingly, only 55 percent of AfD supporters consider themselves right-wing, according to the surveys. Forty-four percent call themselves centrist, and 2 percent say they are left-wing, according to Forschungsgruppe's survey results.

Support for other parties in Germany remains unchanged, according to the polls. Merkel's coalition partners, the Social Democrats , had 22 percent support. The opposition Greens had support from 13 percent of respondents. The liberal Free Democrats were at 6 percent. And the Left party polled an average of 8 percent in all three surveys.

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