The opposition Centre Party has cemented its place at the top of the political pecking order, with a fresh Yle political poll showing it now has the backing of nearly 23 percent of voters. However the margin of error of plus- or minus 1.6 percent casts a question mark over the party’s 1.3 percentage point gain in popularity between June and July.
The poll, which gauged the mood of voters in July, put the National Coalition Party in second place with 18.8 percent voter support, and the nationalistic Finns Party nipping at their heels with 18 percent voter backing. The other senior government partner, the Social Democratic Party continued to lose favour among the electorate, sliding to an all-time low of 15.6 percent of voter intentions.
The junior coalition members, the Green League and the Left Alliance slipped slightly in the poll to record 8.4 percent and 7.2 percent popularity ratings respectively. The other government stakeholders, the Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democratic Party marginally improved in the ranking to show 4.4 percent and 3.6 percent approval respectively.
Steady rise in voter approval for the Centre
Yle’s monthly political barometers have shown an almost steady increase in popularity for the opposition Centre Party – 5.7 percentage points since January. Moreover, compared to the previous parliamentary election back in 2011, the party has increased voter approval by about 7 percentage points.
The Centre now has a 4 percentage point lead over the National Coalition, which also managed to beef up its voter appeal by 0.4 percentage points to overtake the populist Finns Party in the July poll.
Support for the Finns Party dropped by 0.6 percentage points between June and July and seems to have settled at around 18 percent, just one percentage point shy of poll results in the 2011 general election, when the party scored its big political upset to garner 19.1 percent of votes.
Flagging support for government parties
The tide appears to have turned for the second major government partner, the Social Democratic Party, which registered its lowest ever poll performance with just 15.6 percent of voter backing. Since the beginning of the year, the party has lost the equivalent of 3.1 percent of voter goodwill.
However the Green league suffered most from voter antipathy between June and July, losing 0.9 percentage points in support. Altogether an average of 0.8 percent of voters lost faith in the government parties between June and July, bringing the level of support lost since the beginning of the year to 6.4 percent.
Currently some 58 percent of voters say they’d cast a ballot for the coalition parties. Respondents who say they would vote for the opposition Finns and Centre parties now total 40.8 percent of the electorate.