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Support for German coalition parties hits record lows: poll

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Support for Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partner hit record lows, a survey showed on Thursday, as the German chancellor struggles to prevent her fractious government from falling apart.

Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD each saw their voter share fall by 3 percentage points, to 26 and 15 percent respectively, the DeutschlandTrend survey for broadcaster ARD showed.

They were the monthly survey’s weakest ever figures for the coalition parties, ARD said.

The poll also relegated the SPD to fourth place, behind the pro-immigration Greens, up 3 percentage points on 17 percent, and the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, unchanged on 16 percent.

The results chime with expectations that the CSU, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s CDU, is heading for its worst showing in a state election in over 60 years on Sunday, a setback that risks widening divisions within the coalition.

Since it took office in March it has twice come close to collapsing, due to arguments over immigration and a scandal over accusations of far-right sympathies against Germany’s former domestic spymaster.

The coalition is also embroiled in a row over how to phase out polluting diesel cars.

Pollster Infratest dimap conducted the survey of 1,508 people from Monday to Wednesday, ARD said.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by John Stonestreet