THE NATIONAL COALITION has restored its lead in the latest opinion poll conducted for YLE by Taloustutkimus.
The poll reveals that the ruling right-wing party would receive 21.5 per cent of the popular vote if the parliamentary elections were organised today, signalling an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the previous poll.
With the Social Democratic Party simultaneously seeing its popularity dwindle by 0.6 points to 20.8 per cent, the National Coalition has restored its status as the most well supported party in Finland.
Support for the Finns Party fell by a point to 17.5 per cent, marking already the fourth consecutive month of decline for the ruling populist right-wing party, highlighted Tuomo Turja, the research director at Taloustutkimus.
“The Finns Party is on a not especially steep but nevertheless a downward trajectory,” he remarked to the public broadcasting company on Thursday.
The Social Democratic Party appears to be mostly unaffected by its leadership change, with Antti Lindtman taking over for Sanna Marin on 1 September. The fraught labour market situation, however, is reflected in the polling data, according to Turja.
“The last two weeks of the polling period were pretty good for the Social Democrats. It’s possible that the labour market situation and the heating up of the political autumn contributed to the rise in the party’s support toward the end of the polling period,” he commented.
Support for the Centre Party fell by 0.8 points to 10.7 per cent.
The Left Alliance and Green League made by far the biggest gains in the poll, the former climbing 1.8 points to 9.8 and the latter 1.4 points to 9.1 per cent. Some of the gains came at the expense of the Social Democrats: the polling data shows that a growing share of people who voted for the party in April have shifted their support to the Left Alliance or Green League.
“After tactical voting in the elections, we’ve seen some kind of return migration. This is a clear phenomenon,” said Turja.
He reminded that voters in the green-left end of the political spectrum waffled between the three parties throughout last electoral term – a trend that appears to be continuing.
“The Social Democrats also received support from the sleeping party and partly from the Finns Party. So this isn’t completely a zero-sum game where support for the Social Democrats falls by as much as support for the two [other] left-leaning parties increases,” he added.
The National Coalition was the only ruling party to register an increase in popular support. The Swedish People’s Party saw its popularity decrease by 0.4 points to 4.0 per cent and the Christian Democrats by 0.3 points to 3.7 per cent.
Support for Movement Now dropped by 0.1 points to 1.7 per cent.
The polling period coincided with the release of the first budget proposal of the electoral term. The proposal sets forth, on the one hand, spending cuts that affect low-income households and, on the other, tax cuts that benefit slightly middle and high-income households – a fact that may explain the drops in support for the Finns Party and Christian Democrats, according to Turja.
Supporters of the Swedish People’s Party, in turn, may still be uneasy with the party’s role in the ruling right-wing coalition.
Taloustutkimus contacted 2,490 people for the poll between 6 September and 3 October. Over three-quarters (1,878) of the people were able and willing to disclose which party they would vote for if the parliamentary elections were organised today.
The poll results have a margin of error of 1.9 points.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT