Two-thirds of German voters would like to see Chancellor Angela Merkel govern until the end of the legislative period in autumn 2021, according to a poll conducted by Forsa Institute and published on Monday.
Voters of all political parties in Germany except the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) would like Merkel to stay in office, Forsa said. Only 29 percent of all respondents polled on behalf of German television stations RTL and n-tv wanted Merkel, the head of Germany's government, to resign early.
Merkel has been German chancellor for 13 years. She resigned as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) back in October but expressed her intention to remain chancellor until 2021.
The Forsa poll showed that her popularity has since increased, with 67 percent of Germans wanting Merkel to remain in office until 2021, compared to 55 percent in 2018.
At 80 percent, Merkel's highest approval ratings came from supporters of her CDU party and potential voters for the Green Party. Unlike the government coalition, many German cities and states are already ruled by so-called black-green coalitions (CDU and Greens).
Support for Merkel to finish her final term as German chancellor was almost equally strong among supporters of the German Social Democrats (SPD), the Christian Social Union (CSU), traditional voters of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and even Germany's Die Linke (Left Party).
Meanwhile, a huge majority of AfD supporters -- 75 percent -- were in favor of Merkel's premature replacement as chancellor.
The Forsa poll also found that if Merkel were to resign before the end of her term, 56 percent of Germans would be in favor of new national elections.
However, the respondents were uncertain about what result they would seek from early elections. Only 12 percent would want a continuation of the current governing coalition, while 17 percent would support a coalition made up of the CDU-CSU, the FDP and the Greens.
Merkel's announcement last year that she was resigning as leader of the CDU led to much discussion among Germany's political parties about who should lead the country in future, particularly if Merkel were to resign earlier as chancellor.