Antti Lindtman, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, smiled stepping into the meeting room of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group in the Parliament House on Tuesday, 12 September 2023. The Social Democrats holds a lead of 0.6 percentage points over the National Coalition and 3.2 points over the Finns Party, according to the latest opinion poll by Helsingin Sanomat. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY has consolidated its lead in opinion polls despite only seeing a bump of 0.1 percentage points in popular support in the past month, reveals the latest poll by Helsingin Sanomat.

Support for the opposition party stands consequently at 21.6 per cent, 0.6 points higher than support for the National Coalition and 3.2 points higher than the Finns Party.

The Finns Party has seen its popularity slide in every poll commissioned by the daily newspaper since the parliamentary elections in April, to the total tune of 1.7 points. The National Coalition contrastively saw its popularity increase in the wake of the elections and continues to poll above its vote share despite the recent dip.

Kantar Public interviewed 2,456 people for the poll between 14 August and 8 September.

The polling period coincided with the presentation of the government statement on promoting equality and non-discrimination and lawmakers expressing their confidence in Minister of Finance Riikka Purra (PS) and Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman (PS), who had come under scrutiny for their past racist comments.

The Social Democratic Party, in turn, chose Antti Lindtman as its new chairperson in place of former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament Sanna Marin.

Sakari Nurmela, the research director at Kantar Public, told Helsingin Sanomat that Finns Party and National Coalition supporters seem to be uncertain about their allegiances or moving to the sidelines in growing numbers. The Social Democratic Party has contrastively managed to reactivate its supporters over the past month.

“Quite a lot has to happen for people to switch camps even though it does appear to be more common today than it was 15, 20 or 25 years ago,” said Nurmela. “If unpleasant things pop up, people prefer to move to the sidelines for a moment.”

In the 2019 parliamentary elections, he reminded, the Finns Party managed to win over blue-collar voters at the expense of the Social Democrats. With the roles now reversed and the populist right-wing party in the ruling coalition, it will be interesting to monitor if some of the voters re-instate their support for the Social Democrats.

Elsewhere, the Centre saw its popularity rise by 0.3 points to 9.8 per cent, Green League by 0.5 points to 8.6 per cent, the Left Alliance by 0.3 points to 8.3 per cent and the Christian Democrats by 0.4 points to 4.1 per cent. Both the Swedish People’s Party and Movement Now recorded a loss of 0.2 points, the former slipping to 4.2 per cent and the latter to 1.8 per cent.

Support for the right-wing ruling coalition has thus continued to decline, standing presently at 47.7 per cent.

Slightly over a quarter (27%) of the survey respondents were unable or unwilling to say which party they would vote for, or said they would abstain from voting altogether, if the elections were held today.

The survey results have a margin of error of 2.0 points for the most popular parties.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT