Poll gives Merkel's party best rating in her 7-year reign as Germany enters election year

The Associated Press

BERLIN - A new poll shows Chancellor Angela Merkel's party riding high as Germany enters its election year — giving her conservatives their highest rating since Merkel became the country's leader in 2005.

Wednesday's Forsa poll for Stern magazine put support for Merkel's conservative Union bloc at 42 per cent, a point higher than two weeks earlier. But her coalition partners, the Free Democrats — who have bickered over their leader's future — scored a miserable 2 per cent.

The Jan. 2-4 survey of 1,503 people showed support for the main opposition Social Democrats slipping two points to 25 per cent. It was conducted after Merkel's challenger, Peer Steinbrueck, drew criticism for saying the chancellor earns too little. Their allies, the Greens, polled 15 per cent.

The margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 points.