If Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras had hoped his referendum announcement would scare his German counterpart into offering his country much looser bailout terms, a quick look at recent German opinion polls might have changed his calculus.
Surveys gathered before and after the breakup of negotiations between Athens and its creditors show Germans stand firmly behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s message, delivered at a news conference here on Monday, that if Greece is going to remain in the eurozone, it will have to implement the unpopular economic overhauls Athens is rejecting.
Government officials say that despite Ms. Merkel’s concerns that a Greek exit would split Europe at a time of challenges ranging from Russian aggression in Ukraine to Jihadi terrorism and a refugee crisis, yielding now would undermine the rules that underpin the eurozone.
But Ms. Merkel is also a leader with a keen eye for the public mood. From her decision to phase out nuclear power in 2011 to her introduction of a minimum wage this year, she has often supported popular policies, even if they irked conservative functionaries in her Christian Democratic Union. By bowing before Mr. Tsipras, she would go against the overwhelming majority of Germans who oppose any sweetener for Greece.