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SPD sinks to record low in polls

Nicole Goebel
February 16, 2018

Voter support for Germany's Social Democratic Party has plunged to a record low of 16 percent, according to a new poll. It comes after leader Martin Schulz resigned amid a leadership crisis.

Boxes with an SPD logo discarded in the street
Image: picture-alliance/Zuma Press/O. Messinger

The latest "DeutschlandTrend Extra" poll, conducted by infratest dimap for German public broadcaster ARD, shows a 2-percentage point drop for the embattled Social Democratic Party (SPD), compared with the last poll two weeks ago.

Germany's oldest political party, which recently agreed a renewed coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, is now a mere shadow of its former self.

Asked which party they would choose if national elections took place this Sunday, 33 percent of voters went for Merkel's Christian Democrats. A mere 16 percent chose the SPD.

Read moreOpinion: Martin Schulz's political gamble has failed

A whopping 15 percent would opt for the right-wing populist AfD, putting it almost on a par with the SPD. The Greens would garner 13 percent and the Left party would manage 11 percent. The business-friendly FDP would get 9 percent.

SPD leadership crisis

Observers have attributed the SPD's dismal results to its leadership crisis. According to the poll, eight out of 10 voters welcomed Martin Schulz's decision to resign as party chair and to drop his bid for the post of foreign minister.

Parliamentary group leader Andrea Nahles, who is slated to become the next party leader, draws mixed reactions from voters — 47 percent do not believe she can pull the party from the brink, 33 percent believe she can.

Support for grand coalition dropping

Voters are also increasingly lukewarm on the grand coalition comprising the SPD and Merkel's conservative Union bloc, which is set to govern Germany if SPD members approve it.

Read more: Germany's SPD rank and file seek Labour's 'Corbyn factor'

A mere 42 percent are in favor of such a coalition, a drop of 4 percentage points compared with the last poll at the start of February. Support for Angela Merkel as chancellor is also dropping, with just 50 percent saying they would find it "very good" or "good" if she carried on as head of government. Last October, that figure stood at 61 percent.

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