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Pekka Haavisto holds onto strong lead in Yle's latest presidential poll

Pekka Haavisto (Green) has run for president twice, losing both times to President Sauli Niinistö, who's stepping down from the office after two six-year terms.

Top three possible presidential candidates in a May survey: Pekka Haavisto (28 %), Olli Rehn (15 %) ja Mika Aaltola (13 %).
From right: Pekka Haavisto (28 %), Olli Rehn (15 %) and Mika Aaltola (13 %). Image: Jarmo Kuusinen / AOP, Silja Viitala / Yle, grafiikka: Nanna Särkkä / Yle
Yle News

Outgoing foreign affairs minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) continues to be the favourite potential candidate in next year's presidential election, according to Yle's latest survey.

Haavisto received 28 percent support, while the Bank of Finland's Governor and former longtime Centre Party parliamentarian, Olli Rehn, came in second place with backing from 15 percent of respondents.

The director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Mika Aaltola, is just behind Rehn, garnering support from 13 percent of the survey participants.

How it was done

More than 1,600 potential voters were given a list of 38 potential presidential candidates and asked to choose their top five favourite selections.

The full list of names was compiled by Yle's news editorial team which made the selection based on the probability that they might run for president.

Most of the people on Yle's potential candidate list have not yet announced whether they even plan to run for president, while some have already said they don't plan to do so. However, it is not unusual for people to change their minds in these situations.

The top three potential candidates in this poll reflected results of surveys from Yle and other news outlets since the beginning of this year.

"At the moment, it would seem there's going to be a three-way race," said Jari Pajunen, the CEO of market research firm Taloustutkimus.

"Of course others could still have a chance when the list of candidates becomes clearer," he explained.

The right-wing Finns Party's former leader, Jussi Halla-aho, received support from six percent of respondents in the May poll, which reflects a one percentage point drop compared to Yle's last survey.

Support for outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) stood at five percent, also reflecting a one percentage point decline from the previous survey. However, Marin told Yle last summer that she does not plan to run for the prestigious office.

Similarly, support for veteran politician and former PM Alexander Stubb (NCP) dropped by a percentage point to five percent. Last week, Stubb said he has no plans to run for president next year, and that he was satisfied with his current role at the European University Institute in Florence.

Age divisions

Older respondents were fond of Olli Rehn, the survey's runner-up. His popularity increased as the age of respondents grew. Most of his support came from men between the ages of 65-79, as well as respondents in small towns.

Mika Aaltoa, who came in third in this poll and thought to be seriously considering a presidential bid next year, found the most support from both men and women over the age of 50 and those with higher levels of education.

"In this sense, the profiles of supporters of the three most popular [possible candidates] are quite different," Pajunen noted.

The Finns Party's Halla-aho and Left Alliance leader, MP Li Andersson, who received two percent support, are popular with younger generations.

"Andersson is a favourite among young people, of course her overall percentage of support is low, but she gets a lot of support from people under the age of 35. Jussi Halla-aho also has many young supporters," Pajunen explained.

Voters are scheduled to elect a new president to a six-year term in early 2024.

Polling firm Taloustutkimus carried out the survey on 4-9 May, receiving responses from 1,656 people. The margin of error was two percentage points in either direction.

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