A third of SPD members mulling leaving the party

A third of all members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party are considering leaving the SPD, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

A third of SPD members mulling leaving the party
SPD boss Beck mulls the mulling. Photo: DPA

Asked whether they had recently mulled over abandoning the centre-left SPD amid its sinking approval ratings and troubled leadership by the pollster Forsa for newsmagazine Stern some 36 percent of party members said they had. But only six percent said they were planning on turning their backs on the party in the near future.

Another Forsa survey showed the SPD stuck with a record low approval rating of 20 percent. The Social Democrats have suffered a massive decline in membership in recent years, as many SPD supporters felt the party abandoned its left-wing principles to implement painful yet necessary economy and welfare reforms.

The rise of the hard-line socialist party The Left has siphoned off some disillusioned Social Democrats, but the SPD has also struggled to define itself as the junior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition. Only 40 percent of those Social Democrats surveyed said they thought SPD leader Kurt Beck was doing a good job. More than half said they thought someone else could do a better job.

But in a reference to Forsa’s head Manfred Güllner, Beck appeared unconcerned by the desolate poll results: “I’ve never commented on what Mr Güllner sees in his crystal ball and I won’t start doing that now. My grandmother saw cleverer stuff from reading coffee grains.”