Merkel wins most support in five years

Merkel wins most support in five years

BERLIN - Reuters
Merkel wins most support in five years

Chancellor Merkel’s style has earned her the respect and trust of voters. AFP photo

Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives is at its highest level in five years, a poll showed on Nov. 8, but the weak state of her junior coalition partner may complicate the formation of the next government.

The ARD-Deutschlandtrend survey showed Merkel’s conservatives on 40 percent, their best showing since late 2007, and well ahead of the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD), with 30 percent. Germany holds federal elections next September.

The chancellor’s handling of the euro zone debt crisis and her modest, cautious style have earned her the respect and trust of German voters.

Merkel’s personal popularity also shows no signs of waning. If Germans voted for chancellor candidates in a presidential-style system instead of for parties, she would win 53 percent against 36 percent for the SPD’s Per Steinbrueck. A majority of those polled said news that Steinbrueck, a former finance minister, had earned hefty fees for speaking engagements would damage him in next year’s election.

The biggest threat to Merkel’s continued domination of German politics is the persistent weakness of her junior coalition partner, the liberal, pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). The poll saw them winning just 4 percent, below the 5 percent threshold required to get seats in Parliament.