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Yle poll: New PM boosts backing for SDP, Centre

The opposition Finns Party has held onto its top spot, but picked up no fresh support.

Image: Lasse Isokangas / Yle

The latest Yle-commissioned poll of voter support shows that in the month following Social Democrat Sanna Marin's rise to the premiership, backing for her party has risen by two percentage points.

Figures gathered by pollster Taloustutkimus are good news for the coalition government, with both main parties, the SDP and the Centre, gaining ground. This is likely to be especially true for Katri Kulmuni, who took up the chairmanship of the Centre in September and saw sinking voter support in Yle's November poll.

"To some degree, both parties, the Centre and the SDP, have regained some of their former supporters," says Taloustutkimus Research Director Tuomo Turja.

According to Turja, the upward nudge for the main cabinet partners came from voters who had previously given their support and who have now returned to the fold.

"In the meantime they were maybe thinking things over and now declared as Centre Party or SDP supporters," Turja adds.

Greens voters shifting left and right

The Greens, who experienced a sharp rise in support following the last parliamentary elections, saw a dip in December-January and are now neck-and-neck with the Centre.

"It is interesting that right now, the Greens are losing supporters to both the left - the SDP and Left Alliance - but also almost as many to the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) and the Centre," Turja points out.

Some of the losses by the Greens may be explained by the controversy surrounding Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto's handling of the issue of the repatriation of Finnish women and children held at the Al-Hol camp in Syria.

Finns Party and NCP battle for top spot

The two most popular parties are both in opposition. The Finns Party held onto its 24-percent voter backing in this poll, and the NCP is now pushing up close to 20 percent.

Turja says he believes that the Finns Party has reached its limit of growth, at least for the time being.

A rise in support for the NCP could indicate that more voters are now seeing the party as an active and credible opposition player. A battle for leadership of the political opposition could well heat up further this coming spring, Turja concludes.