Exit polls from the southern German state of Bavaria show the ruling conservatives have beaten Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Socialists by a wide margin.

According to exit polls, Bavaria Governor Edmund Stoiber's Christian Social Union snared nearly 62 percent of the vote Sunday. The Social Democratic Party was left with only 19 percent, their worst showing in post-war Bavaria.

Political analysts have been predicting a solid win for Stoiber's party in the conservative, prosperous state where Social Democrats have not governed for 46 years.

But the victory is also seen as a reflection of wider German discontent with Mr. Schroeder's party, which many Germans blame for failing to reverse an economic downturn and rising unemployment.