Chancellor Merkel is arguably Germany's and the euro zone's, most successful political leader in recent history.
She's steered a steady and strong course through the euro zone financial crisis, albeit making austerity-promoting Germany unpopular with its indebted southern euro zone neighbors, and took the moral high ground at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe by allowing over 1 million refugees to enter Germany.
That policy has been seen as a key reason for the rise of the AfD, however, and detractors within her own party criticized the policy, putting Merkel's authority on shaky ground.
In addition, her inability to form a government with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democratic Party in initial talks after the election also cost her time, authority and popularity.
The latest Infratest Dimap poll showed that Angela Merkel remained popular, although her approval rating has declined from 61 percent in October to 49 percent on February 15.
Still, Merkel's fourth term is widely seen as her last, and generally "Mutti," or "mother," as she is popularly known is well-regarded.
"There is still no alternative to Merkel as the leader with a serious message of stability and responsibility," Carsten Nickel, Teneo Intelligence's deputy director of research, said in a note last week.
"This (message) will likely also strongly resonate at the CDU conference on February 26. The traditionally loyal party will greenlight the coalition agreement… However, the main risk to the grand coalition remains the SPD membership ballot," he said.