Three quarters of Germans have little or no faith in Chancellor Angela Merkel's leadership in the euro debt crisis but trust French President Nicolas Sarkozy's crisis management skills even less, according to a new opinion poll.
One week after a French poll suggested that citizens of Germany's strategic eurozone partner have more confidence in the German chancellor than their own president, ARD television's Deutschlandtrend poll, published on Friday (19 August), made bleak reading for both.
Only 22% of Germans polled expressed strong faith in the centre-right chancellor's leadership, while 55% said they were not very confident in her and 20% said they had no confidence at all.
When the same sample of Germans were asked about Sarkozy, 63% said they had little confidence and 20% had none at all, while only 15% were positively impressed.
In the French poll, published on 11 August after French bank shares fell on speculation about the country's finances, 46% of respondents signalled faith in Merkel versus 33% for the conservative French president.
The Germans did not return the compliment.
But they did admit to not understanding the technicalities of the financial and euro debt crisis particularly well. Only 27% of Germans polled thought they had a thorough grasp of events, 59% believed it was shaky and 12% admitted to having hardly any clue about what was going on.
The poll of 1,001 people was carried out by Infratest dimap on 16 August – the day Merkel and Sarkozy met in Paris to urge closer integration in Europe – and the next day, when partners of the two eurozone giants reacted coolly to their initiatives and investors were unimpressed.
If Germans could directly elect their chancellor today, Merkel would lose against both her potential challengers from the opposition socialist party (SPD) – Peer Steinbrück and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
51% said they think Steinbrück, a former finance minister, "has proven in the financial crisis that he can lead the country".
The next federal election in Germany will be held in 2013.
EURACTIV with Reuters