BERLIN - Support for Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) party, a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition, has slumped to a record low, a poll showed Saturday, piling more pressure on it to quit the government and rebuild in opposition.
There is rising skepticism that Merkel's coalition will survive until 2021 after SPD leader Andrea Nahles quit two weeks ago in the wake of her party's losses in European Parliament elections and a regional vote in the state of Bremen.
The troubled center-left SPD had the backing of 11% of respondents in a Forsa poll, a decline of 1 percentage point from a week ago. It marked its lowest level of support since 1949 and placed it in fourth, behind the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) with 13%.
The resurgent Greens remain the most popular party, with
27%, attracting voters disenchanted with the ruling coalition
and concerned about climate change.
Merkel's conservatives were unchanged at 24%, a record low.
The national survey will cast a shadow over a government
meeting this weekend near Berlin to discuss a planned coal exit, pensions, rising housing costs and property tax reforms.
The SPD, punished by voters who feel the party has lost its
working-class ethos, has appointed a trio of caretakers before starting the process to find a permanent replacement for Nahles.
"The SPD has made millions of former voters [politically]
homeless," said Forsa chief Manfred Guellner. "A lot of those
former voters would like to give their vote to the SPD, but they can't do so because the SPD for years has been taking care of a few remaining members instead of the many voters it lost."
Merkel has dismissed concerns about the stability of the
coalition and said she plans to serve a full term until 2021.
The coalition partners will hold a midterm review in the
autumn, which could be an opportunity for the SPD to pull out of the alliance — a scenario favored by members disenchanted with power-sharing with the right.
That would leave Germany facing the possibility of a snap
election, a minority government or an unwieldy alliance of three blocs.
Any of those outcomes would be likely to hasten the exit of
Merkel, who has served 14 years as chancellor. After handing over the leadership of her Christian Democrats (CDU) to protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, she has said she will not stand again as chancellor of Europe's biggest economy.
Forsa polled 2,001 people June 11-14. The margin of error was 2.5 percentage points.