Juha Sipilä of the Centre (left), Petteri Orpo of the National Coalition (centre) and Antti Rinne of the Social Democrats, (right) took part in an election debate held by the Finland Chamber of Commerce in Helsinki on 11 December 2018. (Mesut Turan – Lehtikuva)


THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY has widened its advantage over the National Coalition, shows the latest opinion poll commissioned by Alma Media.

The poll found that popular support for the opposition party crept up by 0.3 percentage points to 21.3 per cent between January and February. Both the National Coalition and the Centre Party, by contrast, saw their popularity decrease – the former by 1.6 percentage points to 18.1 per cent and the latter by 0.3 percentage points to 14.1 per cent.

The most notable change in the poll was the drop in popular support for the National Coalition.

Alma Media on Monday also reported that the only ruling party to register an up-tick in popular support between January and February was the Blue Reform, which saw its popularity rebound by 0.2 percentage points to 2.3 per cent.

Only 34.5 per cent of the public would consequently cast their vote for one of the three ruling parties.

The Finns Party was the biggest gainer in the poll with an increase of 1.3 percentage points in popular support to 11.2 per cent. Although the populist right-wing opposition party has seen its popularity grow already for five consecutive months, it remains the fifth most supported political party in Finland, behind the Green League (13.2%).

“The Finns Party appeals most likely for the same reason as it has since the election upset of 2011: its way of communicating is one that’s very easy to understand and it makes clear, unambiguous statements,” analysed Jenni Karimäki, a university lecturer at the University of Turku.

“On the other hand, the Finns Party is the only party that has a clearly distinct stance on climate change and immigration,” she added.

Support for the Left Alliance rebounded by 0.1 percentage points to 9.0 per cent after a several-month slide. The Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democrats are both polling at 4.1 per cent, after the former saw its popularity drop by 0.1 and the latter by 0.2 percentage points between January and February, according to Alma Media.

Both Karimäki and Janne Pesonen, the party secretary of the National Coalition, said the National Coalition’s decline is attributable to the debate on staffing requirements in elderly care that flared up in January.

“The turbulence was hard when it comes to elderly services. It left a mark on our popularity in February,” said Pesonen.

A total of 1,500 people were interviewed for the opinion poll between 18 February and 3 March by Tietoykkönen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi