BERLIN – The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) continued on Friday its sharp downward trend in the polls, according to the latest nationwide survey of voters commissioned by the country’s public-service broadcaster.
The Deutschland Trend Extra survey, conducted by pollster Infratest dimap on behalf of ARD, highlighted the SPD’s ongoing crisis amid chaos over its leadership, with the party obtaining only a paltry 16 percent of voting intention, a new historic low point for the once-mighty social democrats.
“(Merkel’s) Union remains unchanged at 33 percent. Far-right AfD rises one point (15 percent); FDP’s liberals drop one point (9 percent). The Left (Linke) remains stable (11 percent) and the Greens rise two points (13 percent),” the pollster said in its summary of results.
The SPD thus fell two percentage points below the previous Deutschland Trend survey and was now only one point above the populist far-right Alternative für Deutschland party.
These meager figures came in the midst of an internal party dispute taking place ahead of the upcoming vote by 463,000 SPD members, who are set to either approve or reject the deal reached between their leader, Martin Schulz, and incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel in an attempt to revisit the Grand Coalition between Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union (the CDU’s Bavarian partner) and the SPD.
Regarding Schulz’s recent decision to step down from the party’s leadership and his refusal to enter the future government as foreign minister, 78 percent of respondents said that he did the right thing, while 14 percent thought otherwise.
However, in the case of Schulz’s proposed successor, Andrea Nahles – whose candidacy has been backed by the party’s current top brass – 47 percent of respondents considered she would be unable to halt the SPD’s slide, and only 33 percent believed she would be capable of steering its recovery.
The SPD is set to choose its new leader at a party congress scheduled for April.
In addition, according to the poll, popular support for the CDU-CSU/SPD coalition continued to decline, with only 42 percent of respondents rating the prospect as “very good” or “good” – a four-point drop compared to early February.