Germans' Opposition to Merkel Refugee Policy Eases in Poll

  • Majority still dissatisfied with chancellor's open-door stance
  • Support for chancellor strongest among Green opposition party

Public opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy declined in a poll that also showed the first increase in support for her party since July.

The Dec. 14-16 ARD television poll coincided with the year-end convention of the chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union, where Merkel rallied national delegatesbehind her pledge to “noticeably reduce” the number of asylum seekers without imposing a national cap or closing Germany’s borders.

While 57 percent of poll respondents said they’re dissatisfied with Merkel’s refugee stance, 42 percent expressed support, 3 percentage points more than when ARD last asked the question in the first week of November, the broadcaster said in a statement Friday. At 68 percent, support for Merkel’s handling of the refugee crisis is biggest among Green voters, compared with 57 percent in her own party bloc, according to ARD.

Support for Merkel’s party and her Bavarian CSU ally rose to 38 percent, a 1 percentage-point gain that’s the first in the ARD survey since the last week of July. Backing for the Social Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partner, declined 1 percentage point to 24 percent. The Greens shed 1 point to 10 percent while Alternative for Germany and the Left party held at 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The Infratest-Dimap poll of 1,021 eligible voters has a margin of error of as much as 2.3 percentage points.

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