Jussi Halla-aho’s Finns Party has continued to make gains in polls. YLE on Thursday reported that support for the opposition party rose by 2.1 percentage points to over 10 per cent between December and January. (Credit: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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POPULAR SUPPORT for the Finns Party has increased considerably, according to the latest opinion poll commissioned by YLE.

The public broadcasting company reported yesterday that support for the populist, right-wing opposition party surged by 2.1 percentage points to 10.2 per cent between December and January, representing the first time it climbed above the 10 per cent-mark since mid-2018.

Tuomo Turja, the research director at Taloustutkimus, points out that the spike in popularity coincided with the emergence of reports that 10 men of immigrant backgrounds are suspected of numerous sex crimes against children in Oulu, North Ostrobothnia.

“There’s a clear connection. The Finns Party’s popularity spiked clearly the following week,” he commented to YLE.

A similar spike in support for the opposition party was witnessed around Christmas, when it was reported that a man born in 1982 is suspected of stabbing to death a school-aged boy in Arabianranta, Helsinki, according to Turja.

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The poll was conducted by Taloustutkimus between 10 December and 8 January.

Alma Media reported late last month that 9.7 per cent of the public would cast their vote for the Finns Party.

YLE on Thursday said the Social Democrats remains the most popular political party in the country even though its popularity dropped by 0.3 percentage points to 21.2 per cent. The National Coalition, by contrast, saw its popularity creep up by 0.5 percentage points to 19.6 per cent between December and January.

The Centre Party fell further behind the two most well supported parties as its popularity dwindled by 0.9 percentage points to 16.1 per cent – its lowest level since the second half of 2017, according to the public broadcaster.

“It’s increasingly clear that it’s a two-horse race for the largest party,” analysed Turja.

The poll also confirms the end of the recent resurgence of the Green League, with popular support for the opposition party dropping by 0.3 percentage points to 13.6 per cent. Turja said he expects the party to poll around 13.5 to 14.0 per cent, which despite the modest drop would represent a major improvement from the latest municipal elections and, especially, the latest parliamentary elections.

Elsewhere, the Left Alliance saw its popularity jump by one percentage point to 9.5 per cent, while the Christian Democrats overtook the Swedish People’s Party as the seventh most supported party as support for the latter fell by 1.5 percentage points to 2.5 per cent.

The fall, however, is likely a consequence of a statistical anomaly caused by a disproportionately low number of respondents in certain regions, said Turja.

Taloustutkimus also published its first projection for the distribution of seats in the Finnish Parliament, naming the Social Democrats and Green League as the biggest winners with projected gains of 13 and 10 seats respectively.

The Finns Party, on the other hand, is projected to win a total of 15 seats, a haul that would represent a decline of two seats from the current situation and one of 23 seats from the previous elections.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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