BERLIN, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party is enjoying the highest support rate of 42 percent support since she came to power in 2005, comfortably leading its main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) by 17 points, according to a new poll published on Wednesday.
The Forsa poll, conducted for Stern magazine and RTL television, was published ahead of a key state election in Lower Saxony on Jan. 20.
The figures bodes well for the success of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union in the national election in September.
Merkel's domestic popularity owes much to sticking to principles in dealing with the eurozone debt crisis, including pressing indebted eurozone members to carry out austerity measures and reforms, as well as resisting radical anti-crisis proposals like issuing common eurozone bonds.
Germany's gravity-defying growth in the smoldering debt crisis makes Merkel enjoy even more favorable chances for an election victory.
On the other hand, support for opposition SPD party dropped from 27 percent to 25 percent, the poll indicated, making it more difficult for its candidate Peer Steinbrueck to overcome the odds to win the chancellorship.
Steinbrueck's election campaign got off on the wrong foot as his profitable speaking engagements caused bad publicity. He earned 1.25 million euros (1.61 million U.S. dollars) for speeches at private functions. Recently he made fresh gaffes including saying that he found the chancellor's salary too low.
The polls also found support for Merkel's junior coalition partner the Free Democrats (FDP) slipped to a new low of just 2 percent, indicating that it may fail to reach the 5-percent mark in the elections in order to remain in the parliament. The possible failure of FDP will force Merkel to consider forming coalition with the opposition SPD or the Greens.