Presidential candidates Pekka Haavisto (Greens) and Alexander Stubb (NCP) chatted during an election debate organised by MTV in Helsinki on 13 January 2024. Stubb and Haavisto on Sunday secured their place in the second round of the presidential elections, winning 27.2 and 25.8 per cent of the first-round votes. Stubb is heading into the second round as a relatively clear favourite, reveals an opinion poll by Helsingin Sanomat. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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ALEXANDER STUBB (NCP) would beat Pekka Haavisto (Greens) by a fairly clear margin if the second round of the presidential elections was held now, reveals an opinion poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

The votes would be split 57 per cent to 43 per cent in favour of Stubb, according to the daily newspaper.

Stubb and Haavisto on Sunday emerged as the two most popular candidates from the first round of the presidential elections, securing a place in the second round with a vote share of 27.2 per cent and 25.8 per cent, respectively.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday reported that Stubb is the clear favourite among men, with 67 per cent of male poll respondents backing him over Haavisto. Haavisto, by contrast, would receive 53 per cent of votes cast by women if the second round of the elections was held now.

The poll also found that the older the voter, the more likely they are to cast their vote for Stubb: while the former prime minister would receive about two-thirds of votes cast by over 70-year-olds, votes cast by under 40-year-olds would be split relatively evenly between the two candidates.

Stubb would also win the majority of votes from managerial staff, business owners and pensioners.

Neither Stubb nor Haavisto is at risk of losing many of the votes they received in the first round.

Supporters of Li Andersson (LA) and Jutta Urpilainen (SDP), who respectively won 4.9 per cent and 4.3 per cent of votes in the first round, would shift their support predominantly to Haavisto, according to the poll. Stubb, though, would win about 10 per cent of votes from supporters of Andersson and 33 per cent of votes from supporters of Urpilainen.

Roughly a third of people whose first-round vote went to Olli Rehn (Centre) are seriously considering voting for Haavisto, as do almost one-fifth of people whose first-round vote went to Jussi Halla-aho (PS). Halla-aho was the third and Rehn the fourth most popular candidate in the first round with their respective vote shares of 19.0 and 15.3 per cent.

The first-round votes of Mika Aaltola and Harry Harkimo (MN) would be split fairly evenly between Stubb and Haavisto.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday reported that voter turnout appears likely to remain high in the second round, with the majority of respondents who voted in the first round voicing their intent to vote also in the second round. Almost three-quarters (74.9%) of the public exercised their right to vote in the first round, marking a new high since the second round of the 2006 presidential elections.

Over three-quarters (77%) of the poll respondents stated that they will surely vote and 13 per cent that they will relatively surely vote in the second round. Only six per cent of the respondents said they are likely to abstain, while three per cent had no opinion on the matter.

The share of voters who will surely vote is particularly high, over 90 per cent, among supporters of the Greens and National Coalition. The share is the lowest among supporters of the Centre (61%) and Finns Party (70%).

Verian conducted 1,161 online interviews for the poll on 29–30 January. The poll results have a martin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

The second round of the presidential elections is held on 11 February 2024, with advance voting possible in Finland between 31 January and 6 February and abroad between 31 January and 3 February.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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