That Merkel should be in this state, however, is the more unusual. She is personally popular among the German electorate.
However, the structure of Germany's legislative system has injected the uncertainty. First, the seats are apportioned in the legislature according to proportionate representation - you get 15 per cent of the vote, you get 15 per cent of the seats. Second, a party must get over five per cent of the vote to qualify for any seats at all.
While Merkel's Christian Democrats are in no doubt of emerging the largest party they are almost certain not to get an absolute majority under the PR system. But her present coalition partners, the pro-market Free Democrats, are doubtful of crossing the five per cent mark.
One German official said there were at least five different and equally plausible scenarios for the September elections, including a left victory and a grand coalition of the two national parties.