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Support for Merkel down; AfD, Greens steady

August 4, 2016

Support for Angela Merkel has plummeted, according to a new survey conducted after a series of violent attacks rattled Germany. The chancellor has lost 12 points since the last DeutschlandTrend survey, from early July.

Merkel and Seehofer
Image: Getty Images/S. Gallup

Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel (above, left) is at a six-month low, according to the latest DeutschlandTrend poll. The chancellor's support stands at 47 percent, down from 59 percent the last time the poll was conducted on behalf of the German public broadcaster ARD in early July.

The poll was done after a series of unrelated attacks by men who had at various times applied for asylum in Germany. Merkel defended Germany's refugee policies during her annual press conference last week, saying she had made the right decision in allowing hundreds of thousands of people to seek asylum in Germany since last summer.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said they were unsatisfied with Merkel's asylum policies, though the poll did not allow for nuance or specific reasons. Thirty-four percent said the country was on the right course with its refugee policies - the lowest number since pollsters began asking the question last fall.

By the numbers

The poll showed support for Bavarian State Premier Horst Seehofer (right in photo), who recently criticized Merkel's sanctuary policies. His approval rating was up 11 points, to 44 percent. Sixty-four percent said politicians for Seehofer's Christian Social Union (CSU), which operates in an uneasy alliance with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), worked more toward the party's interest than for the success of the government.

Overall, support for the CDU-CSU union stood at 34 percent, with the Social Democrats (SPD) at 22 percent. Ninety-one percent of respondents criticized the ongoing spats within Germany's grand coalition government, made up of the three parties. The non-governing Greens had 13 percent support, and the Left had 9 percent; for non-Bundestag parties, the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) received 12 percent and the business-first Free Democrats stood at 5 percent.

Merkel's ratings dipped to 46 percent in February during another outbreak of fears over foreigners. However, in a demonstration of the fickleness of German public opinion, her support recovered - soared, even - after Britain's vote to leave the European Union in June and a coup attempt in Turkey last month.

Infografik Deutschlandtrend 04.August 2016 Sonntagsfrage Englisch

The DeutschlandTrend survey brought good news for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble; the men had a 71 percent and 60 percent approval rating, respectively. Steinmeier is down three points from last month, while Schäuble lost four.

Baden-Württemberg State Premier Winfried Kretschmann, of the Greens, also made it to the positive side, if just, with 51 percent support, down four points from April.

Polling institute Infratest dimap surveyed a representative sample of 1,003 eligible voters on August 1 and 2.

mkg/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)