Merkel's conservatives riding high in eastern Germany
Thirty-one percent of easterners would cast ballots for Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats if the election were held this week, a poll shows.
Berlin -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel can count on strong support from her native ex-communist east when the country votes in September, a poll released Sunday indicated.
Thirty-one percent of easterners would cast ballots for Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats if the election were held this week, the poll by the Institute for Market Research for Super Illu magazine showed.
Her coalition partners in the left-right government, the Social Democrats, are tallying their lowest score in the east since the country unified 19 years ago, with just 20 percent of the vote.
They have been overtaken for second place by Die Linke, a far-left outfit comprised of disaffected Social Democrats and former members of the communist party that ruled East Germany, which is drawing 24-percent support in the east.
The party approved a radical electoral platform at a congress Saturday calling for a national minimum hourly wage of 10 euros (14 dollars) and the dissolution of the NATO military alliance.
The pro-business Free Democrats would score 11 percent, according to the poll, while the ecologist Greens would tally nine percent in the eastern states, which account for about one-third of the German population.
Three percent of eastern Germans would vote for a far-right party.
The poll was conducted among 1,001 potential voters in Germany's five ex-communist eastern states and the eastern districts of Berlin.
The German election will be held September 27, six weeks before the country celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Merkel, who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, and her conservatives are also enjoying a comfortable nationwide lead in the polls against her challenger, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and his Social Democrats.