According to the Deutsche Welle web site* a survey conducted by the Forsa Institute found Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) is less popular than the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) in the eastern State of Saxony.**
If true this must be an important wake up call for the SPD as it will reverberate across the whole of Germany, for this is the first time ever in an opinion poll the Nazi NPD has overtaken the SPD in an opinion poll. The popularity of the Christian Democratic Union, (CDU) the governing party in the State of Saxony dropped to 39 percent in the poll whilst the Social Democrat SPD face a nightmare scenario where they are now below their previous lowest level, dropping from 9.8 percent to just 8 percent.
In the State elections in 2004, the SPD recorded its worst ever result, but even then it was marginally more than the rightist NPD’s 9.2 percent. While the far-right party has also dropped points in the current poll, the fact is that the SPD is now seen as being less popular than a right-wing extremist Nazi party in the State of Saxony. As I have aforementioned the SPD was hardly a force to begin with in Saxony, coming in well behind the CDU and the Left Party, the new kid on the block who gained 27 percent at the last general election, but the SPD was ahead of the free-market liberal FDP (7 percent) and the Greens (5 percent). However the impact of being beaten further down, and by the far right NPD, even if it is only in a poll, will not only have implications in the State of Saxony, but throughout Germany.
Werner Patzelt, a political scientist from Dresden, the Saxony state Capital, told the daily newspaper Der Spiegel that “the figures were dramatic and that he thought that the question of social justice, the most important issue for many in the region, had driven the low SPD vote in the poll”. “The feeling among the population is that the big parties do not act on its behalf in the State Assembly in Dresden and in the Federal government in Berlin,” he said.***
Saxony. SPD leader in Saxony Thomas Jurk said the poll was “harrowing; and It was now up to the SPD to reverse the party’s failing fortunes as quickly as possible.”
Since reunification, the SPD in the east of the country has never been able to gain the mass support of the German working classes like it does in Western Germany. The party is clearly paying the price for entering with the CDU in an unpopular National coalition, which has attempted to steal the social benefits that the German working classes have built up over the decades that followed WW2.
The SPD leadership in Berlin is beginning to wake up to the fact that simply telling the capitalist class to enrich themselves whilst covertly stealing the past gains of the working classes, is hardly good politics especially if your core support base is that very working class whose pockets you have been riffling whilst in government. The more so when there is a socialist party to the left of the SPD like the Left Party, which is hovering up working class support and been at the fore of the struggle against any reemergence of German fascism.
** * http://www.spiegel.de/international/