Minister of Finance Riikka Purra (PS) gestured during a question-time debate in parliament on 7 March 2024. According to the latest poll by YLE, Purra’s Finns Party saw its approval rating decline in February, possibly as a consequence of the excitement generated by the presidential elections dying down. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNS PARTY suffered the greatest losses in the latest opinion poll conducted for YLE by Taloustutkimus.

Public support for the ruling, populist right-wing party decreased by two percentage points from the previous poll to 18.0 per cent as especially men, an indication that the excitement generated during the presidential elections has died down, analysed Tuomo Turja, the research director at Taloustutkimus.

Support for the Finns Party, he reminded, rose “quite clearly” at the beginning of the year as the party’s base was activated by the successful presidential campaign of Jussi Halla-aho.

“The Finns Party’s approval rating shows now that the decline has been among men, blue-collar workers and the self-employed. If you look at it regionally, [the losses] have come in Southern Finland,” he said on Friday.

Also two other ruling parties have lost support since early February, according to YLE. The National Coalition saw its popularity fall by 0.8 points to 21.6 per cent and the Christian Democrats by 0.5 points to 3.1 per cent. The Swedish People’s Party was the only ruling party to make gains in the poll, climbing from 3.4 to 3.7 per cent.

Support for the ruling four-party coalition fell consequently by three points to 46.4 per cent.

The Social Democratic Party was the only opposition party to haemorrhage support, its approval rating declining from 20.4 to 19.8 per cent. Although the 0.6-point decline registered for the party is not substantial, it marks already the fourth consecutive month of declining popular support, highlighted Turja.

“Social Democrats-affiliated trade unions have gone on a pretty forceful offensive against the government’s labour market plans, but it isn’t reflected in the party’s approval rating,” he observed.

The biggest gains in the poll were registered by the Centre Party. Popular support for the agrarian centre-right party surged by 1.4 points to 12.2 per cent, nearly a point above its vote share in the previous parliamentary elections.

“[The Centre] is getting some support from the value-conservative wing of right-wing parties. Some of the Christian Democrats and Finns Party’s voters have shifted their support for the Centre, but mostly [the increase] stems from the base reinstating their support for the Centre,” commented Turja.

The Left Alliance and Green League find themselves virtually neck and neck after support for the former rose by 0.5 points to 9.0 per cent and the latter by 0.7 points to 8.9 per cent. Also Movement Now registered an up-tick in support, its approval rating improving from 1.4 to 1.9 per cent.

Taloustutkimus contacted 2,428 people for the poll between 12 February and 5 March. Three-quarters, or 1,828, of them were able and willing to reveal which party would receive their vote if the parliamentary elections were held now.

The results have a margin of error of up to 2.0 per cent.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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