May 19, 2016 / 4:27 PM / in 2 years

Support for Merkel's party drops to lowest since Oct. 2011: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party fell to its lowest level in four and a half years, a poll showed on Thursday, in a sign voters are still upset despite a recent drop in new migrant arrivals.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (L) and Chancellor Angela Merkel take their seats as they arrive for a cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The Deutschlandtrend poll for public broadcaster ARD/WDR showed support for Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) fell 1 percentage point to 32 percent, the lowest level since Oct 2011 in the survey.

The initial welcome Germans showed waves of arriving migrants last summer turned sour by the autumn and has weighed down since then on support in the polls for Merkel and her party, despite their success in slowing the flow.

The number of migrants entering Germany reached peaks of more than 10,000 a day last autumn, but fell significantly this year due to the closing of Greece’s border with Macedonia and a European Union deal with Turkey that has discouraged refugees from crossing the Aegean Sea to the EU.

Support for the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in Merkel’s coalition government, rose 1 percentage point to 21 percent. The anti-migrant AfD party was unchanged at 15 percent, making it the third-strongest political force.

The Greens lost 1 percentage point to 12 percent while the Left party and the business-friendly FDP party both inched up 1 percentage point to 9 percent respectively 7 percent.

The poll of 1,015 people was conducted by Infratest dimap on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Another survey published on Wednesday showed the SPD fell to its lowest level in 24 years in that poll, underscoring the need for possible new alliances after the general election next year.

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel is under pressure from some in his party to shift left to try to mobilize traditional supporters before the federal election in Sept. 2017.

A poll published last week showed nearly half of Germans oppose Merkel remaining in office for a fourth term after the election, a further sign that her handling of the migrant crisis is still weighing on her popularity.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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