An Yle/Taloustutkimus poll out Thursday shows the opposition Greens continuing to shatter their previous popularity records, becoming clearly the second-largest party in the country.
Their backing rose by about two tenths of a percentage point since the last survey, when they were virtually neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's Centre Party. Now the Greens are well ahead, with 17.8 percent compared to the Centre's 16.2 percent – more than a full percentage point below the last poll. That ranks them third out of the eight main parties. The Centre has slumped to its lowest support level since autumn 2012, just after Sipilä became its chair.
Since last spring, the Greens' support has surged by five percentage points, passing the Centre and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Yle's July-August survey.
Taloustutkimus CEO Jari Pajunen says that the Greens' ascent can only continue if they can find new supporters beyond their traditional base of young voters and well-educated voters from university cities.
Finns Party regain ground
On the other end of the ideological spectrum, the Finns Party seems to have benefitted from the ongoing debate over immigration and internal security. Its support rose into the double digits for the first time since hardline MEP Jussi Halla-aho took over as leader in June. Its 10.3 percent backing is up by one and a half points from the previous poll. That is still about half of the support it enjoyed during its heyday under Timo Soini.
Foreign Minister Soini has now joined the Blue Reform association, which split off from the Finns Party in June but remains in its place in the government coalition, is still struggling for support, now at 1.4 percent support.
Combined support for three government groups – the Centre, the NCP and the Blues – has fallen to 38.4 percent, down from 55.6 percent when the Sipilä cabinet took office in mid-2015.
NCP rules the roost
The NCP remains the most popular party with steady support of 20.8 percent, although their edge over the Greens has narrowed to three percentage points.
The SDP, which has lost its role as opposition standard-bearer, are still losing support, dropping slightly to 15.6 percent after a three-point dive during the summer. Its backing is still where it was when Sipilä took office in 2015. Pajunen speculates that the SDP lost some supporters over the summer to the Finns Party.
Of the smaller parties, the Left Alliance support rose to 8.2 percent while the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats remained below the five-percent mark.
Taloustutkimus carried out phone interviews with just under 2,000 adult Finns between late August and early September. It places the margin of error at plus or minus 2.3 percent.