Election Exit Poll IMAGE.
Saarland state governor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of chancellor Merkel's Christian democratic party CDU, left, shakes hands with Social Democratic SPD top candidate Heiko Maas in a TV studio in Saarbruecken, Sunday March 25, 2012. An exit poll points to a victory for Merkel's party in a state election in Saarland state and a disastrous performance for her partners in the national government. Merkel's Christian Democrats were fighting to preserve their 12-year hold on the governor's office in Saarland Sunday. It's the first of three state elections this year. An ARD television exit poll showed Merkel's party in the lead - more than four points ahead of Germany's main opposition Social Democrats. It showed the pro-market Free Democrats - Merkel's struggling partners in the national government - slumping far below the 5 percent support needed to win seats in the state legislature. The exit poll shows the upstart Pirate Party entering its second state parliament with 8 percent support.