The Christian Democrats are said to be losing up to 3,200 members a month because of dissatisfaction over the refugee issue. Dozens of local party officials, whose towns and villages have had to cope with a large migrant influx, have deluged Ms Merkel with protest letters.
In the Rhineland Palatinate and Baden-Wurttemberg, the party’s state branches were reportedly reluctant for Ms Merkel to campaign because her stance might deter voters. At several rallies, angry opponents have chanted “Merkel must go”. In eastern Germany, where the xenophobic AfD is strongest, she has only one appearance booked.