At 81 percent, the number of survey respondents telling ARD's Deutschlandtrend poll they didn't think the government had the situation under control was an overwhelming majority.
And that has a knock-on effect on Merkel, with her personal approval rating plunging 12 points to 46 percent – its lowest since August 2011.
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian allies the Christian Social Union (CSU) would still dominate if an election were to be held immediately, garnering the largest share – 35 percent – of public support between them.
But upstart Alternative for Germany (AfD), the right-wing populist party, has seen its tough talk on refugees in recent days and weeks rewarded with a three-point jump to 12 percent, its highest-ever level.
There was broad support, at 63 percent, for introducing an upper limit on the number of refugees able to enter the country in a single year.
And once here, respondents favoured cutting social benefits for refugees who don't integrate (88 percent).
Meanwhile, 78 percent of people agreed with plans to classify north African nations Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia as "safe countries of origin" whose citizens won't be able to apply for asylum.
Despite the high levels of concern and support for tough new measures, 94 percent of people surveyed agreed that it was right to take in refugees from war.
That number decreased to 73 percent in favour of taking in people fleeing political or religious persecution and just 25 percent for people fleeing poverty.
Pollsters interviewed a representative sample of 1,004 people by phone between February 1st and 2nd.