Sauli Niinistö's support dropped eight percentage points in the latest Yle poll of presidential election voting intention, but he still retains the support of some 72 percent of respondents—a lead of 61 percentage points over his nearest rival, Pekka Haavisto.
"Niinistö's support is surprisingly high," said Jari Pajunen, CEO of Taloustutkimus which conducted the poll for Yle. "It has been supposed that as the election approaches, that people would find a candidate from their own party."
Green candidate Haavisto polled 11 percent, an increase of one percentage point, while Finns Party MP Laura Huhtasaari also increased her support by one percentage point. Both moves are well within the poll's 1.9 percentage point margin of error.
Niinistö's support remains strong among supporters of all parties, with the incumbent supported by a majority of National Coalition, Centre Party and Social Democrat voters polled. The Centre candidate Matti Vanhanen polled two percent overall, and the SDP's Tuula Haatainen three percent.
Even 44 percent of green-voting respondents said they backed the current president, Niinistö, over their party's official candidate. 49 percent of Green-voting respondents said they supported Haavisto.
Leftist Merja Kyllönen, meanwhile, could only muster the support of 26 percent of the left-voting respondents. Some 45 percent of them preferred Haavisto, and 18 percent plumped for Niinistö.
"Based on these results you have to think that we'll get a decisive result in one round," said Pajunen.
The first round of the election will be held on 28 January. If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round run-off involving the two candidates with the most support will be held on 11 February.
Yle's coverage of the presidential election includes profiles of all the candidates and an English-language presidential election compass (siirryt toiseen palveluun) to help explore the candidates' views on various issues.