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BERLIN (Reuters) - Nearly one in two Germans has little or no confidence in European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, according to a poll released ahead of a closely-watched ECB policy meeting later on Thursday.
The Italian ECB chief is expected to lay out at the meeting the framework for the central bank's new bond-buying program for stricken southern euro states like Spain and Italy.
Jens Weidmann, head of the influential Bundesbank, opposes Draghi's plan and has not shied away from criticizing it publicly. Other German "hawks" have expressed concern that the ECB has been taken over by a southern cabal determined to bend the rules of sound monetary policy.
In the survey by pollster Forsa for Stern magazine, 30 percent of respondents said they had little trust in the ECB president, while 12 percent said they had none at all.
Some 18 percent said they held Draghi in esteem, while a further 31 percent said they did not know him and 9 percent had no opinion.
Voters for Germany's far-left Linke party were particularly sceptical of Draghi, according to the poll, with 62 percent saying that had no trust in him.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while voicing support for her former adviser Weidmann, has also made clear that she believes Draghi is not violating the ECB's mandate for price stability by buying bonds under strict conditions.
Reporting By Sarah Marsh; Editing by Noah Barkin