Angela Merkel, GERMANY GOVERNMENT FOREIGN POLICY.jpg
German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press briefing on domestic and foreign policy issues at the Bundespressekonferenz (lit. Federal Press Conference) in Berlin, Germany, 28 July 2016. Chancellor Merkel says Germany will 'stick to our principles' and give shelter to those who deserve it', while refusing calls to change refugee policy despite recent terror attacks.
Photograph: EPA/WOLFGANG KUMM

A key ally on Saturday took a swipe at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "We can do it" promise, a slogan she has regularly used over the last year to rally Germans around efforts to manage the country's refugee crisis.

Merkel had repeated the motivational slogan - first coined in August, at the height of the crisis as thousands of refugees were making their way to Germany every day - during her annual summer press conference on Thursday.

But it is growing clearer that not all of Germany agrees with her.

"With all the will in the world, I can't use this sentence. The problem is too big for that," Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer said after a retreat of the Bavarian cabinet on the shores of the southern Tegernsee lake.

There was still a lot of work to do on managing the country's refugee crisis, Seehofer added.

In light of the information he held due to his office, Germany had to get "a huge deal better" at handling current issues.

Seehofer, who is one of the fiercest internal critics of Merkel's asylum policy, said he did not want to argue. "But I don't want to tell the public any untruths either."

Nonetheless, Seehofer, who heads the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats' (CDU), said the two parties were "doing well" overall.

His criticism of Merkel comes as a poll revealed Saturday that only 8 per cent of Germans still believe in Merkel's "We can do it" promise.

Pollster YouGov surveyed 1,017 Germans between Tuesday and Friday, posing the question: "How do you feel about Merkel's statement 'We can do it,' repeated several times in relation to the high number of refugees in Germany and the country's ability to accept them and look after them?"

Some 48 per cent of respondents said they did "not agree at all" with the statement. A further 18 per cent said they "slightly disagree," putting the total percentage of people disagreeing with Merkel at 66 per cent.

Eighteen per cent said they "slightly agree," putting the total percentage of people backing Merkel's view at only 26 per cent.

That means the numbers of those who agree with Merkel's optimism on the refugee crisis are at their lowest point since she coined the phrase in August 15, 2015.

However, there was only point - between September 1 and 4 - when agreement levels were significantly higher. Back then, 43 per cent of Germans agreed with her, while 51 per cent disagreed.

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