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Centre party support drops in latest Yle poll

Support for the Centre party has dipped below 25 percent in Yle’s monthly tracking poll for the first time since last October. The party’s lead over the second-placed SDP is still 8.1 percent.

Yle's February 2015 poll

The Centre party’s lead in the polls is narrowing ahead of elections due for 19 April. The party had polled 26.8 percent in January, with the figure in February 24.9 percent. Researchers say, however, that the drop is more a levelling off after exceptionally high support levels, rather than a sign of more serious decline.

"It’s definitely some kind of law of nature at play," said Jari Pajunen of pollsters Taloustutkimus. "Their support had been so high that it had to fall some time."

Pajunen says the fall cannot be attributed to the controversy over plans to limit sales of mid-strength beer, as the party reacted quickly to distance itself from the policy.

For the last four years the party has been in opposition, along with the Finns party and a Left Alliance splinter group, and has therefore largely escaped blame for Finland’s economic woes. In 2013 a new group entered parliament, when James Hirvisaari was expelled from the Finns Party and joined the Muutos 2011 party.

The main beneficiary of the Centre’s losses has been the Finns Party. Back in December the party’s support was 13.3 percent, but in February it has risen to 15.4 percent. Pajunen says that the party’s consistently eurosceptic line may have had something to do with that.

"The Greek election and its aftermath have been on the agenda the whole time," noted Pajunen. "I believe that had an influence."

Premier Alexander Stubb’s National Coalition, meanwhile, is polling at 16.2 percent—lower than at any point this century.

Taloustutkimus interviewed 3,420 people between 2.2 and 24.2. The poll’s margin of error is +- 1.5 percent.

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