Finland’s main government parties the National Coalition Party and the Social Democratic Party have maintained their popularity among voters in the most recent political barometer published by national broadcaster Yle.
The latest opinion poll shows that, while the gap between the two lead parties continues to narrow slowly, they both enjoy a clear lead over the two opposition parties, the Centre Party and the Finns Party.
The survey showed very little change in voter support compared to the previous month, at less than half a percentage point, and well within the margin of error of 1.6 percentage points.
Still, the National Coalition Party, which recently returned premier Jyrki Katainen as its political leader, leads the field with 21.6 percent of voter support, while the Social Democrats chaired by Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen creep ever closer with support inching up to 20.8 percent.
A very slight dip in support for the National Coalition coupled with the small rise in popularity of the Social Democrats means the parties are separated by less than one percentage point in the minds of the electorate.
A previous poll back in May showed an increased backing for the SDP already eroding the lead enjoyed by the National Coalition.
No change in backing in spite of new Centre Party leadership
The June barometer showed that 16.5 percent of voters backed the main opposition Centre Party, reflecting no real change in support since the beginning of the year.
In spite of a handover of leadership from former premier Mari Kiviniemi to relative newcomer Juha Sipilä, wider electoral support continued to elude the party in June.
The other opposition party, the nationalistic Finns Party, continued its recovery of voter mindshare after sliding from popularity in earlier polls. However, its current support level of 15.6 percent is still some distance from its peak of 23 percent last summer.
Greens suffer from evaporation of Haavisto phenomenon
Of the smaller parties, the Green League enjoyed its biggest voter backing in recent times, when Pekka Haavisto announced his candidacy for the presidential election last year.
Since that time Haavisto himself has faded into near obscurity in his role as the Greens’ parliamentary group leader, taking voter support into the shadows in the process. In June, the Yle poll put electorate support for the party at 9.2 percent.
The fortunes of the other small political parties also remained largely unchanged, with the Left Alliance garnering 7.5 percent of voter support, the Swedish People's Party 3.9 percent and the Christian Democrats 3.7 percent.
The Green League and the other small parties are all minority partners in Jyrki Katainen’s so-called “six-pack” coalition government.
The poll was conducted by pollster Taloustutkimus for Yle and interviewed 2,920 respondents, 60.8 percent of whom were willing to disclose their political preferences.
The interviews were conducted between June 4 and 27, and the results for the larger political parties have a margin of error of 1.6 percent.
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