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Yle poll: Finns Party support increases, Centre hits historic low

The Centre Party saw its backing among voters drop to the lowest level since Taloustutkimus began carrying out Yle's monthly survey of voters in 1994.

Image: Eetu-Mikko Pietarinen / Yle

Support for the Centre Party has hit a historic low, according to the results of Yle's latest monthly survey of voter sentiment.

The poll found that just 10.3 percent of respondents would vote for the governing coalition partner, a drop of 1.4 percentage points from the previous poll in September and a huge decline from the 19.3 percent of ballots cast for the Annika Saarikko-led party at county council elections earlier this year.

This is the Centre Party's lowest-ever result in an Yle monthly poll, according to pollster Taloustutkimus, which has conducted the surveys since 1994.

"It can be said that the Centre is now at the bottom in terms of the history of modern measurement," Taloustutkimus Research Director Tuomo Turja told Yle.

Even prior to the mid-1990s, the Centre Party had been one of Finland's "big three" alongside the National Coalition Party (NCP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), leading Turja to suggest this could be the lowest level of voter support the party has ever had.

The party was established as the Agrarian League in 1906 – more than a decade before Finnish independence – changing its name to the Centre in 1965.

The Centre Party leaked support over the latest polling period in particular to the opposition Finns Party, which saw its own backing among voters climb from 16.2 percent last month to 17.1 percent in this latest poll.

"The Centre lost its older voters to the Finns Party," Turja noted.

The nationalist Finns Party's result is their strongest showing in Yle's monthly poll so far this year, and can be at least partly attributed to the recent debate over closing Finland's borders to Russian tourists — a move which was strongly backed by the Riikka Purra-led Finns.

NCP remains most popular party

The opposition NCP retained its position at the top of the latest poll, with just over 24 percent of respondents indicating that they would vote for the party.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin's SDP remained in second place, with 19.3 percent voter backing.

Among the other government parties, the Greens saw a very slight drop to 9.4 percent while the Left Alliance enjoyed a slight bump up to 8.4 percent. Another small government partner, the Swedish People's Party, was virtually unchanged at just over 4 percent.

The latest poll also revealed no significant changes in support for Finland's smaller opposition parties, with the Christian Democrats polling at 3.3 percent while Movement Now saw a 0.1 percentage point drop to 1.7 percent.

Turja noted that the latest poll reflected a political situation that was "unusually stable", which Turja said can be explained by heightened concerns over Finland's security policies in the light of Russia's war on Ukraine as well as the accompanying energy crisis. Both have served to draw people's attention away from domestic party politics, he said.

"There is a very large consensus on security policy in Finland, and no party can pick up a lot of loose points from it," Turja explained.

Taloustutkimus interviewed 2,714 people between 8 September and 4 October, with 1,884 respondents expressing support for a party. According to the pollster, the margin of error is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

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