Presidential candidates Mika Aaltola (left), Alexander Stubb and Pekka Haavisto discussed Finnish foreign policy at a security conference organised by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki on 29 September 2023. A YLE poll suggests that Stubb and Haavisto remain the two clear frontrunners in the presidential race. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)


A POLL by YLE suggests that the presidential race is likely to come down to a run-off between ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and ex-Prime Minister Alexander Stubb.

Haavisto and Stubb were the only two candidates to receive support from more than a fifth of the poll respondents in the poll section representing the first round of voting, the former winning 29 and the latter 22 per cent of the vote.

The duo are effectively in a dead heat in the section representing the second round of voting, with 51 per cent of respondents backing Haavisto and 49 per cent Stubb.

Jari Pajunen, the managing director of Taloustutkimus, told the Finnish public broadcasting company that it looks very difficult for any other candidate to reach the second round of voting.

Olli Rehn, the governor of the Bank of Finland was the third most popular candidate and Mika Aaltola, the director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the fourth most candidate, winning 14 and 10 per cent respectively in the section representing the first round. The top four were followed by Speaker of Parliament Jussi Halla-aho (8%) and Li Andersson, the chairperson of the Left Alliance, (7%).

While Haavisto, Rehn and Aaltola are all running as the candidate of a constituency association – the first two despite their respective ties to the Greens and Centre – Stubb is running for the National Coalition, Halla-aho for the Finns Party and Andersson for the Left Alliance.

Taloustutkimus contacted 1,516 people for the poll on 4–9 October. Because the poll was conducted by phone, the results are not directly comparable to the previous presidential poll commissioned by YLE.

About 90 per cent of the people contacted revealed which candidate would receive their vote in the first round of voting.

Compared to September, Haavisto has seen a decrease of two percentage points and Stubb an increase of three points.

Haavisto and Stubb dominated the latest poll especially in the section representing the second round of voting. While Rehn fared the best out of the chasing pack, also he would lose to both of the leading candidates by a margin of 12 points, 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

Pajunen gauged that the second round of voting will be decided by which of the leading duo manages to win more support from voters whose primary choice did not make it into the run-off.

“Haavisto is probably in a slightly more difficult position in the sense that it seems that his votes are coming from supporters of green and left-wing parties. Stubb, by contrast, can draw from the rest of the field,” he said to YLE.

In the scenario that one of them did not make it into the second round, both Haavisto and Stubb would receive a boost from each other’s supporters, according to Pajunen.

“Whoever is still standing from this duo is very strong,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT