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Yle poll: Strong public support for government and officials’ handling of corona crisis

The president and prime minister received the highest marks for their leadership during the pandemic.

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (both SDP) at a government briefing on the pandemic last week. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

People in Finland seem to be generally pleased with how top state officials have managed the coronavirus crisis so far.

A poll carried out for Yle by Taloustutkimus asked residents how well or poorly various officials and organisations have responded to the pandemic.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said that the government has performed quite or extremely well.

President Sauli Niinistö’s handling of the situation earned the approval of 91 percent of respondents – although the president’s mandate is primarily focused on foreign affairs and not directly related to public health. The strongest support for Niinistö was among women and older people.

Meanwhile a narrow majority of those surveyed said that the political opposition parties’ response has been quite or extremely poor.

Higher marks for Marin than Kiuru

Respondents were asked to evaluate two cabinet ministers’ handling of the corona crisis: Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (both SDP). The latter is one of two ministers at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Marin earned the same overall approval rating as the government did, but a larger share of respondents said they were extremely satisfied with her management of the crisis.

Both Marin and Kiuru earned the approval of a majority of those polled, but there was a higher level of dissatisfaction with Kiuru.

Only one in 10 said she had done extremely well, while 40 percent believed she had performed quite or extremely poorly.

People were also asked how they believe Finnish public health authorities have handled the epidemic, with the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) mentioned as an example.

The approval rate was high, with 84 percent saying they were quite or extremely satisfied.

Little support for opposition response

While the responses were generally positive, a notable exception was regarding the response of the political opposition, which is dominated by the nationalist Finns Party and the conservative National Coalition Party.

Just over half of respondents said that the opposition’s response had been quite or extremely poor. Most dissatisfied were respondents over the age of 50.

Taloustutkimus executed the public opinion poll through an internet panel involving 1,149 people in late November. The company estimates the margin of error at about 3.2 percentage points.