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Germany's Merkel sees dip in support

Bertlin,Aug 11:-- New polling data released on Thursday claimed German leader Angela Merkel’s popularity declined this month but revealed she maintained a strong lead over political rivals ahead of September’s general election.


Just under 60 percent of German citizens polled said they were satisfied with the Chancellor against 69 percent in May, the Infratest Dimap poll results showed.


Merkel’s closest rival, Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz saw his approval rating dip to 33 percent, a further decline of four points.


It was an all-time low for the former European Parliament president, who was nominated as the SPD’s new leader in January, with great expectations of being a strong challenger to Merkel in the Sept. 24 contest.


Support from liberals, environmentalists


The poll showed that Merkel, who first became Chancellor in 2005, enjoyed strong backing not only from her own Christian Democrat electorate, but also from some opposition party supporters.


Almost 80 percent of liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) voters, and 49 percent of Green Party backers said they would prefer Merkel, and not Schulz, in a head-to-head vote.


Some 22 percent of SPD voters also expressed their support for Merkel.


Merkel on course for fourth term


The poll showed Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc was comfortably ahead of the SPD, enjoying 39 percent support seven weeks ahead of the general election.


SPD support was down by one point to 24 percent, while the opposition Left Party polled at nine percent.


The Greens remained at eight percent, and the FDP was also on eight percent, a slight decrease in the party's support from previous polls.


Germany’s anti-immigrant, right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) polled at eight percent, above the national five-percent electoral threshold.


The representative poll was conducted between Aug. 4-8 by the Infratest Dimap research group for public broadcaster ARD and Die Welt newspaper.

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