The string of recent tragedies in Germany—the hatchet rampage on a commuter train, the shooting spree in Munich, and Sunday’s suicide bombing in Bavaria—have resulted in a bump for the Chancellor that Germans only half-mockingly refer to as “Mutti” or “Mommy.”
Politico reports that recent polls (albeit taken before the weekend attacks) indicate that Angela Merkel has largely made up the ground she lost after critics took sharp aim at her refugee policy in the wake of the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne. Her approval rating landed at 59% this month—its highest since September 2015. That increase is especially notable since Merkel will face a general election contest next year.
The jolt is evidence of skittish Germans flocking to Merkel as a well-known voice of reason and reflects an easing of the refugee crisis. Germans’ embrace of Merkel is not totally unexpected since research shows that one way people cope with terrorism fears is to look for a leader to protect them. Research also indicates that being a woman leader in such circumstances could be a disadvantage (heads up, Hillary Clinton), but that takeaway came from a study in which people considered both men and women leaders. As Politico points out, in Germany, there’s really “no alternative” to Merkel.
Still, the Chancellor and her supporters should in no way get comfortable with her higher favorables. The recent uptick in violence proves that the world’s current social and political environment is nothing if not completely unpredictable.
Fortune writer Claire Zillman
(filling in for Laura this week)
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