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Poll suggests strong support for Niinistö ahead of presidential election

A poll by Iltalehti suggests President Sauli Niinistö's support is holding up as Finland heads towards presidential elections in January 2018. Green Party grandee Pekka Haavisto is the most likely challenger according to the poll, with some 12 percent of respondents backing him.

Prinssi Daniel ja kruununprinsessa Victoria kättelevät presidenttiparia.
Niinistö shakes hands with Crown Princess Victoria. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

If the presidential elections took place today, 60 percent of voters would keep President Sauli Niinistö in office for a second term, according to a new poll from the tabloid Iltalehti. 

This would mean that a second round of voting would not be necessary, as Niinistö would secure enough votes – more than half - in the first round to continue in his post.

Pollster Taloustutkimus carried out the survey, which included responses from 1,177 people, in late August. The margin of error is three percentage points in either direction.

Taloustutkimus research director Juha Rahkonen notes that this latest poll predicting presidential voting patterns saw support for Niinistö drop from the last poll in late May, when the current president had 72 percent backing.

Pollster predicts a second round anyway

Rahkonen predicts that this trend will continue until January 2018, meaning that a second round of voting will indeed be necessary.

The Iltalehti poll released Friday suggests that Green candidate Pekka Haavisto stands the best chance of facing off against Niinistö in the second round, as 12 percent of the poll's respondents said they would vote for Haavisto.

In terms of the other candidates that have announced they are in the running, Finns Party MP Laura Huhtasaari received four percent of voter support, three percent said they would vote for the Centre Party's Matti Vanhanen, two for the Left Alliance's Merja Kyllönen and one for the Swedish People's Party's Nils Torvalds. 

The Social Democratic Party has still not decided on a candidate, but Iltalehti asked readers to indicate whether they would vote for Maarit Feldt-Ranta, and she received two percent of the total support.

Unofficial candidates in the running were also included in the poll: Paavo Väyrynen won two percent of the respondents' votes, and Ilja Jantiskin won one percent.

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