Finnish Politics YLE

Finland: Social(ist) Democrats post biggest loss in state poll that sees Finns party increasing its lead as most favored…….


The SDP’s release of its government “four-year program” sounds like something from the Soviet era, which soon after took a dive in the polls…


The other winner in the polls is the Finnish version of the Bolsheviks, which are eating away at the support of the SDP (Mensheviks) as well.


Yle poll: Support for Centre sinks to record low as Finns Party backing grows


PM Antti Rinne’s SDP posted the poll’s biggest losses after the release of its four-year government programme.


A fresh Yle party approval survey conducted by pollster Taloustutkimus has shown declining support for the Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Antti Rinne. Backing for the party declined by 1.3 percentage points to 16.1 percent after the new SDP-led administration publicised its four-year government programme at the beginning of June.


That level of voter support places the SDP in third position behind the Finns Party and the National Coalition Party, which appear to be already reaping the benefits of being in opposition.


The nationalist Finns Party remains the country’s most popular political force with 19.7 percent voter backing, while the NCP has 16.8 percent – the parties are separated by nearly three percentage points, still well within the poll’s margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points.


Taloustutkimus research director Tuomo Turja said that the Finns Party is clearly the most popular group among workers, but is also faring well among entrepreneurs.


“The Finns Party is gaining on the National Coalition Party as the largest business [–friendly] party,” Turja commented.


Challenges to coalition cooperation


Government parties occupy rankings from fourth to seventh place in the survey. The Greens remain stable in fourth place with 14.3 percent backing. However there appears to be no reprieve for the Centre, led by interim chair Juha Sipilä, which has seen voter approval erode from one poll to another.


The latest Yle survey puts support for the party at just 11.7 percent, down slightly by 0.7 percentage points from a previous barometer. It is a record low for the party that once held the reins of government.


According to Turja’s reading of the numbers, the Finns Party in particular has gobbled up support from the limping Centre. At the same time many Centre backers are undecided about where to pitch their tents.


“Many that voted Centre in the recent parliamentary election cannot say at this time which party they support. It seems that the Centre’s participation in government has to some extent confused their support base,” Turja said.


During government formation talks, the Centre and the Greens appeared to be on opposite sides of the fence on a number of issues, such as immigration policy. The pollster speculated that the Greens’ continued expansion is likely to challenge cooperation between the two parties.


The agrarian-background Centre is now looking ahead to leadership elections in September in the hope that a new chair will help revive the party’s fortunes in voter polls. The frontrunners in that contest are currently Economic Affairs Minister Katri Kulmuni and Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen.


Left Alliance chipping away at SDP support


Another junior government partner, the Left Alliance, posted the biggest gains in this poll to record 8.8 percent voter backing, an increase of one percentage point on the last poll.


Turja said that the Left Alliance has managed to attract support from the groups of voters who appear to have soured on the SDP.


“I interpret this as inter-governmental [movement]. Some of voters choosing between the SDP and Left Alliance have opted for the Left Alliance this time,” he pointed out.


In spite of slight changes in the level of support for the five government coalition parties, overall support for the bloc remains largely the same as during the general election. Total voter backing for the administration now stands at 55.5 percent, compared to 55.7 percent gathered during the election.


Taloustutkimus interviewed nearly 2,500 voters between 5 June and 2 July for the poll.


Yle’s political barometer will take a break during the summer vacation and will return during the autumn parliamentary term, when voters will likely be evaluating the performance of both the government and the opposition.

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