Poll suggests migrant crisis knocks popularity of Germany's Merkel, but no serious damage

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN — A new poll is adding to indications that Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal popularity is taking a knock amid the influx of migrants to Germany, though there's no sign of serious political damage.

The Infratest Dimap poll of 1,001 people for ARD television, conducted by telephone Tuesday and Wednesday, found 54 percent of respondents satisfied with Merkel, nine points fewer than a month earlier. Satisfaction with Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, the most prominent critic of her welcoming stance toward refugees, was up 11 points to 39 percent.

The poll published Thursday night also showed 51 percent of respondents saying they're worried so many refugees are coming, a 13-point rise.

Still, support for Merkel's conservative Union bloc stood at 40 percent, a two-point dip that was within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 points.

The bloc comprises Merkel's Christian Democrats and Seehofer's Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, which has long been an awkward ally. Over her nearly 10 years as chancellor, the bloc has become increasingly closely identified with Merkel and she has no serious rivals as leader.

Merkel agreed in early September to let in migrants who had piled up in Hungary as an emergency measure. Since then, the flow has shown little sign of stopping and some conservative backbenchers have urged Merkel to make clear Germany can't take in unlimited numbers.

Merkel has stuck to a positive message, insisting repeatedly that "we will manage it."

ARD said the satisfaction level with her is the lowest it's measured since December 2011, also in midterm. The next national election is due in two years.

A separate poll of 1,013 people for Der Spiegel magazine published last weekend found the number of respondents wanting Merkel to play "an important role" in the future at 63 percent, down five points from June.

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