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Yle poll: Finns Party's lead grows, Centre leaks more support

The populist Finns Party appears to be benefitting more from being in the opposition than the National Coalition Party.

Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Yle’s latest political barometer, which comes on the heels of the swearing in of a new government led by Social Democratic Party chair Antti Rinne, shows little change from a previous post-election poll. The new PM’s party enjoys the support of 17.4 percent of the electorate, down by a negligible 0.4 percentage points from a previous poll. All of the changes in the new survey were well within the two-percent-point margin of error.

The new voter approval survey shows the outgoing PM Juha Sipilä’s Centre Party with greatest movement of all of the major political parties – albeit downward by 0.9 percentage points – settling at 12.4 percent backing and continuing a months-long slippage.

On the other end of the spectrum, the nationalist Finns Party posted the biggest gains, with support rising 0.7 percentage points to 19.5 percent. It is now Finland’s most popular political party with a lead of more than two percentage points over the second place SDP.

"New Finns Party supporters have woken up this time around, meaning that they didn’t vote in the elections. But if we consider this party, it is mainly stripping backing from the Centre Party," Taloustutkimus research director Jari Pajunen said.

Greens see spike in ex-chair's hometown, Turku

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto’s Green Party overtook the Centre to occupy fourth place in the poll with 13.9 percent backing. Former Greens chair Ville Niinistö’s successful run for an MEP seat was reflected in the poll results, which showed strong spike in support for the party in Niinistö’s hometown, Turku, Pajunen noted.

Taloustutkimus gathered responses for the survey during government formation talks involving the SDP, Centre, Greens, Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party, with the last of the responses recorded on Tuesday.

This means that the poll does not reflect possible reaction to the government agenda, which was formally announced on Monday. All the same, the new government coalition enjoys a combined level of support of 56 percent of voters.

Now in opposition, the National Coalition Party led by former finance minister Petteri Orpo holds third place in the survey with 16.7 percent voter approval. Relegation to the opposition benches does not appear to have boosted the party’s popularity, but may have been a disappointment to supporters, the pollster speculated.

Similarly, the Left Alliance did not appear to benefit from its participation in coalition formation talks as just eight percent of voters backed it. Voter enthusiasm for the party now stands at 7.8 percent, making it the first time since last summer that backing has fallen below eight percent.

Voters bolder about declaring support

However, another junior government party, the Swedish People's Party, did enjoy a slight, 0.5-percentage-point bump in voter support to arrive at 4.5 percent voter approval.

Backing for the Christian Democrats remained almost steady at 3.6 percent, while the one-MP party Movement Now registered 1.7 percent voter support.

The Blue Reform, which splintered from the Finns Party in 2017, did not see any MPs re-elected to parliament, so it does not appear in the poll.

As was the case one month ago, a larger than usual proportion of respondents – more than 76 percent compared to the usual 60-odd percent – were prepared to disclose their party affiliations.

According to Taloustutkimus voters’ readiness to declare their intentions increased during the April parliamentary election and the European Parliament election that took place in May.