New poll shows Germany's Merkel riding high in popularity in EU

A new poll shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel is popular at home and in neighboring France but viewed with skepticism in Turkey, whose EU membership bid she has opposed.

According to the Pew Global Attitudes project results released Tuesday, 80 percent of French people surveyed said they had either "a lot of confidence" or "some confidence" in Merkel, as did 77 percent of Germans.

Of the number at home, however, 34 percent showed "a lot of confidence" in her compared with 12 percent in France.

Only 7 percent of French respondents and 9 percent of Germans had "no confidence at all" in the German leader.

Merkel has been a little more guarded in her approach to diplomacy with Moscow than predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, who had a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Still, 40 percent of Russians had some or a lot of confidence in Merkel, while only 23 percent had either "not too much" confidence or no confidence at all in her.

While Schroeder vigorously fought for Turkish membership in the EU, Merkel has been resolutely against the nation joining the trade bloc. That played out in the polls, with only 11 percent of Turks having either a lot or some confidence in her, while 58 percent said they had no confidence at all in her.

Turkish respondents put more trust in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than in Merkel, in whom 25 percent said they had some or a lot of confidence.

On the other hand, compared to Schroeder, who was sharply critical of the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq, Merkel has largely been seen as more pro-American and some 38 percent of Americans saw her in a positive light, while 25 percent had little or no confidence in her.

Despite her two trips to the United States since taking office, fully 39 percent of U.S. respondents said they didn't know or declined to answer.

The survey was conducted among nearly 17,000 people in 15 countries from March 31 to May 14.

The margin of error in France was 4 percent, 6 percent in Germany, 3 percent in Russia, 3 percent in Turkey, and 3 percent in the United States, reports AP.

O.Ch.