With Finland’s general election less than one month away, Yle’s new public opinion poll shows a larger number of undecided voters than its previous survey.
This time around just 56.5 percent of voting age adults were prepared to reveal which party they intended to vote for in the upcoming election. In a previous survey in February, that proportion was 57.4 percent. Jari Pajunen, research director with the pollster Taloustutkimus said it’s likely that these “floating” voters could decide the outcome of the election.
“How they behave and which party they decide to support. In terms of working persons the number is high; they represent nearly 350,000 votes up for grabs. We can therefore assume that the biggest winners could be the SDP and the Finns Party,” Pajunen expanded.
The Yle poll shows the opposition Centre Party still leading the field in terms of voter backing, with a solid 24.9 percent of electors saying they’d cast a ballot in the party's favour. That level of support hasn’t shifted since Yle’s previous poll one month earlier. At its highest, support for the Centre peaked at 26.8 percent last December.
By contrast, the other main parties appear to be losing their grip on voters’ imaginations. The largest number of voters slipped away from the Finns Party, who lost 0.8 percentage points of their backing during the one-month period. The Social Democrats and the National Coalition Party also lost some ground among electors.
Tight race between SDP and NCP
While first place in the electoral race appears to be clinched, the NCP and SDP are engaged in a fierce struggle for the runner-up position - and a possible role in the next government.
The latest figures show 16.2 percent of voters saying they’d vote for the SDP, but the National Coalition Party is snapping at its heels, with the backing of 16.1 percent of voters.
On the other hand, after a surge in the previous survey the nationalist Finns Party’s approval rating slipped to 14.6 percent from 15.4 percent in February. One year ago, the party was a favourite among about 19 percent of electors.
Researcher Pajunen said that he was surprised by how the numbers have panned out.
“If there was a certain trend, it’s now strengthened. We are now seeing a leveling off and in that regard the situation is very interesting. This is such a tight race. In practice we have three parties at the same level, so really, anything can happen,” he remarked.
Greens, SPP and Christian Democrats picking up
Among the smaller parties, the Greens saw its popularity rise slightly to overtake the Left Alliance. Its voter support now stands at 8.9 percent.
Meanwhile a 0.3 percentage-point dip in support means the Left Alliance now has the backing of 8.5 percent of voters. Both parties have seen a general upward trend in their fortunes since the beginning of the year.
The same trend was evident in the approval ratings for the Swedish Peoples Party and the Christian Democrats, who the poll shows would get 4.5 percent and 3.9 percent of votes respectively, if the election took place now.
Overall the other marginal parties also saw their backing rise by 0.6 percentage points since February. However the change in approval of all of the small parties was well within the poll’s margin of error, which stood at 1.5 percentage points in either direction.