July 15, 2011 / 3:39 PM / in 6 years

Record numbers of Germans worried about euro: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - More Germans than ever fear for the stability of the euro and almost half want Greece to leave the single currency zone, a poll showed on Friday.

Some 86 percent believe that the euro is at risk, up from 80 percent in June, according to the closely watched monthly survey by public TV channel ZDF.

That strong majority echoed the view of the country’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was earlier cited as telling a German newspaper the Greek crisis was endangering the euro.

Some 68 percent of poll participants said Italy’s debt woes also posed a big or very big danger to the single currency.

Most respondents graded the EU’s crisis management as “rather poor,” and continue to oppose further financial aid for Greece, though slightly less forcefully than a month ago.

Resentment at funding bailouts -- a common complaint among German taxpayers -- was also reflected in attitudes on euro zone membership, with 47 percent wanting Greece to exit the common currency zone, according to the poll.

The debt crisis has also taken its toll on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition.

Support for her conservative parties (CDU/CSU) fell by one percentage point to 33 percent, while the opposition center-left SPD gained one point to 29 percent.

Support for the CDU’s embattled junior coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), was steady at 4 percent. The Green party, the SPD’s preferred coalition partner, also held steady at 22 percent.

Merkel’s own popularity with voters has also waned, according to the poll, which placed her behind potential rivals from the SPD for elections scheduled in 2013.

Former finance minister and potential chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck was again voted the country’s most popular politician.

The poll surveyed 1,273 voters between July 12 and 14.

Reporting by Kalina Oroschakoff; Editing by John Stonestreet

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