Merkel support recovering in crunch election year: poll
Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party is recovering, a new poll showed Wednesday, ahead of seven regional elections in 2011 that could determine the future of her fragile coalition.
The Forsa survey showed Merkel's conservatives at 35 percent, the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) at 25 percent and the high-flying ecologist Greens at 21 percent. Other recent polls have put Merkel's party at similar levels.
However, the chancellor's pro-business coalition partners, led by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, continued to languish, polling three percent.
Backing for both Merkel and her party dipped last year as voters registered their disapproval of internal bickering within the coalition and the German-backed bailout of Greece.
But her personal approval rating and support for her party has risen amid a strong recovery in Europe's top economy and falling unemployment.
The poll by Forsa, an independent opinion research institute, showed Merkel far ahead of potential SPD rivals for the leadership.
Parties in Germany are steeling themselves for what has been dubbed a "super election year" in 2011, with seven regional elections, beginning with a poll in the city-state of Hamburg on February 20.
Forsa surveyed 2,503 people between January 3-7 with the margin of error 2.5 percentage points.
© 2011 AFP