Merkel Approval Rises to Highest Since 2009 After EU Summit

Chancellor Angel Merkel
Chancellor Angel Merkel remained Germany’s most-popular politician, according to a poll taken after last week's European Union summit. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approval rating rose to the highest since 2009 as a majority of Germans backed her handling of the euro area’s debt crisis, according to a poll taken after last week’s European Union summit.

Merkel’s stance was backed by 58 percent of respondents in the poll for ARD public television, suggesting that her rebuff of calls by Italy and Spain for Germany to help underwrite the entire currency union’s debt is paying off at home.

“This is another indication, if one were needed, that Germany stood its ground at last week’s EU summit despite perceptions that it caved in,” Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London, said in an e-mail.

The chancellor remains Germany’s most popular politician, with 66 percent saying said she is doing a good job, eight percentage points more than in June and the most since December 2009, according to the monthly Infratest Dimap poll released late yesterday. A record 85 percent said the worst of the turmoil lies ahead, ARD said in an e-mailed statement.

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who was Merkel’s chief of staff during her first term between 2005 and 2009, had the second-highest approval rating. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Merkel’s Social Democratic challenger in the 2009 election, tied Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for third place with 61 percent.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc would win the largest share of the vote, 35 percent, compared with 30 percent for the Social Democrats, if elections were held now, according to the poll. With 4 percent support for Merkel’s Free Democratic Party ally and 14 percent for the Greens, which were part of a Social Democrat-led government from 1998 to 2005, the poll indicates that neither combination would have a majority in parliament.

The July 2-4 poll of 1,004 people had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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