Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has seen his approval rating take a beating over the past six months, indicates a poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by TNS Gallup.
No more than roughly a quarter, or 27 per cent, of the public are currently of the opinion that he has carried out his official responsibilities relatively well or well, signalling a drop of 12 percentage points from mid-2016 and 31 percentage points from mid-2015.
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Sakari Nurmela, a director at TNS Gallup, reminds that the poll was conducted shortly after it emerged that Sipilä had sent more than a dozen e-mails to YLE to express his displeasure with coverage of a possible conflict of interest arising from a contract awarded by Terrafame, a state-owned mining company, to an engineering group owned by his relatives.
The poll results, he estimated, likely reflect the amount of negative publicity consequently received by the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister's business background was previously regarded as a positive, but recently there has been a lot of discussion about the fact that business practices may not work in politics,” he pointed out in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat.
Kimmo Grönlund, a professor of political science at Åbo Akademi University, similarly interpreted the results as an indication that the public believes Sipilä has failed to find his footing in the world of politics.
“[The public] has scrutinised how he conducted himself in the YLE row, sending Donald Trump-like e-mails to a journalist,” said Grönlund. “He apologised for them, but at the same time there have been news reports about how the premier has neglected to consider his possible incapacity in regards to Terrafame.”
Nearly one-half, or 45 per cent, of the public estimated that Sipilä has succeeded either poorly or very poorly in carrying out his official duties, the poll also found. Prime Ministers generally see their approval rating decrease as they continue their terms in office, but the approval rating has fallen lower only once since the poll was first conducted in 2011.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva