POPULAR SUPPORT for the Social Democratic Party has jumped by 4.4 percentage points to 21.1 per cent in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, finds the most recent opinion poll commissioned by Alma Media.
The Social Democrats and Finns Party traded places at the top of the poll, with the latter seeing its popularity dip by 1.6 percentage points to 20.1 per cent since early February.
Johanna Vuorelma, a political scientist at the University of Tampere, estimated that the surge in popularity is attributable to the state of emergency and the clear and consistent public appearances of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).
“The prime minister’s party stands out in both good and bad in Finland,” she noted. “Politics is mainly about communication, about how you tell things to the public. And Marin has had no problems in that regard.”
“Marin is exceptionally articulate, consistent and performs very clearly. I’m sure various population groups appreciate that, [appreciate] not having to sort of interpret what the prime minister means.”
Vuorelma viewed that the prevalent situation has also made it difficult for the opposition parties to challenge the ruling, five-party coalition. The Finns Party, in particular, has found it question the decisions of the government, as the situation has nothing to do with its key issues of climate and immigration.
“The traditional divide between the ruling and opposition parties hasn’t emerged in this situation. If you think about the alternative offered by the opposition, there really isn’t one,” she said.
Finland, she added, tends to place an emphasis on unity and consensus in times of crisis.
Elsewhere, the Green League and National Coalition both saw their popularity drop, the former by 1.9 percentage points to 10.7 per cent and the latter by 0.7 percentage points to 16.8 per cent. The Centre Party recorded a drop of 0.1 percentage points to 11.9 per cent, while the Left Alliance (7.8%) and Swedish People’s Party (4.6%) recorded increases of 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points, respectively.
The Christian Democratic Party saw its popularity decline by 0.6 percentage points to 2.9 per cent.
A total of 1,200 people were interviewed for the poll between 20 and 27 March by Tietoykkönen. The poll was conducted over a shorter-than-usual time period to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the response of the government on the support ratings of political parties in Finland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi