Riikka Purra, the chairperson of the Finns Party, attended an election-night event at Kuntatalo in Helsinki on 23 January 2022. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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POPULAR SUPPORT for the Finns Party has fallen by 3.3 percentage points to 15 per cent, according to a poll commissioned by YLE.

The post-county election slide, the public broadcaster reported last week, leaves the populist right-wing opposition party third in the poll, four points behind the Social Democrats (19.0%) and over six points behind the National Coalition (21.2%).

Tuomo Turja, the research director at Taloustutkimus, told YLE that the Finns Party is bleeding support in a number of directions, especially to the National Coalition, Now Movement and Power Belongs to the People, a party founded by a lawmaker kicked out by the Finns Party in February 2021, Ano Turtiainen.

Turja viewed that one reason for the exodus could be the newly concluded county elections, which revolved around social and health care services, a policy area that is not among the strengths of the Finns Party. The opposition party won 11.1 per cent of the votes cast in the elections to secure 155 seats on the councils of the so-called well-being services counties.

“The Finns Party’s popularity was on the decline throughout January. It suggests that its supporters’ interest in politics in general has waned,” said Turja.

Support for the Green League fell by 0.3 points to 9.7 per cent, possibly as a consequence of the ruling party’s poor performance in the county elections and the debate that followed the elections. The Green League won 7.4 per cent of the vote in the elections and fared worse in the poll in the weeks that followed the elections, according to Turja.

“It’s now clearly visible that the Greens is leaking support to the Left Alliance. The leakage is clearly greater than in previous months,” he said.

The Left Alliance saw its popularity increase by a point to 9.0 per cent. The Green League is haemorrhaging support also to the Social Democrats, an indication that voters are moving readily within the red-green bloc.

The Centre failed to carry over its success from the county elections into the poll, receiving the nod of approval from 12.7 per cent of the respondents – a rise of 0.2 points from the previous parliamentary election poll commissioned by YLE. The Centre won 19.2 per cent of votes in the county elections.

“Support for the Centre appears to be undergoing a slight upswing – it received the backing of about 14 per cent of respondents in interviews conducted after the county elections – but it isn’t really reflected across the polling period,” told Turja.

Both the Centre and the Green League were affected by the fact that no votes were cast in Helsinki, the former positively and the latter negatively. Support for the Swedish People’s Party jumped by 0.9 points to 4.7 per cent and that for the Christian Democrats by 0.2 points to 3.4 per cent.

Taloustutkimus contacted 2,727 people for the poll between 9 January and 1 February. Almost three-quarters (72%) of the people contacted disclosed their party of preference for the parliamentary elections.

The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for April 2023.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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