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Poll: Populists Gain, Merkel Takes Hit After Berlin Attack

REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke.

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

Populist party Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) has gained 2.5 percentage points in a poll after the truck attack in Berlin Monday.

The poll by Insa and German tabloid Bild puts AfD at 15.5 percent nationally. The party has only reached that mark once before, in September.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) dropped 1.5 points to 31.5 percent. CDU’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, fell by one point to 20.5 percent, which indicated many of the coalition’s voters turned to AfD after the attack. (RELATED: Berlin Attack Victim’s Father: Thanks Merkel, I’ll Never Vote For You Again)

A majority of Germans further back more resources for police to combat terrorism in the country. They also support increased video surveillance in public places and more equipment for police.

Germany will hold a general election next fall, with Merkel going up for a fourth term in office. Polls still give Merkel’s coalition its own majority but the gap has shrunk dramatically since the last election in 2013.

She has promised that the refugee crisis of last fall will never be repeated and that more deportations will be carried out.

“The case of Amri raises a series of questions, not just about the deed itself but also about the time since he came to Germany in July 2015,” Merkel said Friday, following the death of Berlin attacker Anis Amri. “We will now examine with urgency to what degree state practices must be changed.”

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