Petteri Orpo’s National Coalition continues to poll ahead of other political parties in Finland, reports Helsingin Sanomat. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE NATIONAL COALITION has cemented its standing as the most popular political party in Finland, indicates an opinion poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

The poll shows that the right-wing opposition party would win 20.8 per cent of the votes if the parliamentary elections were held today, a haul that would clinch it a 2.4-percentage-point win over the Social Democratic Party (18.4%).

The National Coalition and Social Democrats were the only parties to register noteworthy changes in their approval ratings, with the former gaining one point and the latter losing 0.8 points.

The Finns Party and Swedish People’s Party gained 0.2 and 0.1 points to climb to 17.4 and 4.5 per cent, respectively. While the Green League (10.5%), Left Alliance (7.8%) and Movement Now (2.2%) registered gains in the region of 0.1–0.3 points, no changes were registered in the approval ratings of the Centre (12.9%) and Christian Democrats (3.6%).

Sakari Nurmela, the research director at Kantar TNS, said the National Coalition is polling well because of its emphatic victory in the municipal elections and the visibility it gained during the somewhat contentious budget negotiations between the five ruling parties.

“They got a bit boost from the election win. The National Coalition has also received a lot of publicity of late,” he said.

While the Social Democratic Party saw its popularity dip, it continues to poll at a higher level than its vote share in the municipal elections, highlighted Nurmela. It may be an indication that the voters who chose not to exercise their right to vote in the municipal elections but re-affirmed their support for the party in the aftermath are yet again re-considering their political allegiances.

“It may be that some of those who voted for the Social Democrats in the municipal elections don’t want to voice their support for the party at the moment. It may be normal variation. It may naturally also be about the discussion surrounding the budget session,” he commented.

Neither the Finns Party nor the Green League appears to be dramatically affected by their recent party conferences.

Kantar TNS interviewed 2,384 people for the poll between 23 August and 17 September.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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