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Paavo Väyrynen (left) and Sauli Niinistö (right) took part in a presidential election debate organised in Oulu on 10 January, 2018.
Paavo Väyrynen (left) and Sauli Niinistö (right) took part in a presidential election debate organised in Oulu on 10 January, 2018.

 

President Sauli Niinistö has seen a drop of such magnitude in support that it is no longer implausible that a second round of voting will be required in the looming presidential elections, suggests an opinion poll commissioned by Alma Media.

A second round of voting will be required only if none of the eight candidates vying for the presidency receives more than half of the vote.

Alma Media on Thursday reported that voter support for the incumbent candidate has fallen by 12 percentage points to 58 per cent since the previous poll conducted between late November and early December. The support, the latest poll suggests, has trickled down to all but one of the seven remaining candidates, Pekka Haavisto (Greens). Haavisto, who continues to poll at 14 per cent, is nevertheless the most likely candidate to challenge the incumbent in the second round of voting.

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The six remaining candidates recorded increases of one to five percentage points in support.

Paavo Väyrynen (ind.) has more than tripled his support from two to seven per cent since early December. The seasoned politician was popular particularly among respondents who identified themselves as supporters of the Finns Party, 19 per cent of whom said they would cast their vote for Väyrynen.

Niinistö, meanwhile, remains popular across party lines. He is not only polling at 89 per cent among supporters of his former party, the National Coalition, but also projected to win the lion’s share of votes cast by supporters of the Centre, Social Democrats and Swedish People’s Party.

Supporters of the Social Democrats, for example, are more likely to vote for Niinistö than the party’s own candidate, Tuula Haatainen, with the former polling at 53 and the latter at 24 per cent among the party's supporters.

Niinistö is also relatively popular among supporters of the Green League, 37 per cent of whom would cast their vote for him. Haavisto, however, would win the majority (57%) of votes cast by supporters of the opposition party.

Tietoykkönen interviewed 1,500 people for the opinion poll between 9 and 16 January, 2018.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Timo Heikkala – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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