THREE of the four political parties in talks over the formation of a right-wing ruling coalition have seen their popularity increase after the parliamentary elections held in Finland on 2 April, reveals an opinion poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.
The National Coalition remains the most popular party in the country with an approval rating of 21.4 per cent, an improvement of 0.6 percentage points from its vote share in the elections.
Support for the Finns Party has increased by 0.9 points to 21.0 per cent and support for the Swedish People’s Party by 0.2 points to 4.5 per cent. The Christian Democratic Party is the only one of the four parties engaged in the coalition formation negotiations to see its popularity slip from the elections, by 0.1 points to 4.1 per cent.
The Social Democratic Party has seen its popularity decrease by 0.9 points to 19.9 per cent, as it looks bound for the opposition provided that the four aforementioned parties can reach an agreement on the next government programme. The Centre Party is polling at 10.1 per cent, 1.2 points lower than its vote share in the elections.
Both the Green League and Left Alliance have gained 0.7 points after the elections, the former climbing to 7.7 and the latter to 7.8 per cent.
Sakari Nurmela, the research director at Kantar Public, told Helsingin Sanomat that the Finns Party and National Coalition’s gains were expected as parties that perform well in elections tend to ride the momentum beyond the elections.
“At least recently, the parties that’ve got some positive momentum in elections have seen it continue after the elections,” he said.
Such boosts may be explained by media coverage of the coalition formation negotiations that are underway at the House of the Estates in Helsinki. Nurmela added to the newspaper that, as long as a ruling coalition is formed without “any major drama,” he does not expect to see major swings in polls until after the summer holiday.
“But it isn’t impossible that there’s some movement before that. If an issue starts to cause friction at the House of the Estates,” he told.
Changes in the Green League, Left Alliance and Social Democrats’ popularity, meanwhile, may be attributable to tactical voting – the phenomenon of voters casting their vote for a party that is not their primary choice in an attempt to ensure or prevent the forming of a certain kind of ruling coalition. Surveys by Kantar Public suggest that the Social Democrats benefited and the Greens and Left Alliance struggled due to the phenomenon in the elections.
“Maybe some of the voters have now come back and that’s visible as a slight dip in support for the Social Democrats and a slight up-tick in support for the two parties,” commented Nurmela.
Kantar Public interviewed 2,860 people for the poll between 3 April and 12 May.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT