The National Coalition Party currently led by Finance Minister Petteri Orpo has managed to cement a position for itself as Finland’s most popular political party since parliamentary elections two years ago.
Although the NCP remains at the top of the party approval ranking, it saw backing slip by 2.5 percentage points since November to 19.8 percent in December. The last time the party saw approval levels slide below 20 percent was in April.
The largest opposition force, the Social Democratic Party, also suffered similar losses in Yle’s December poll, with popular support sliding to 17.8 percent in December from a very respectable 20 percent in November.
Centre neck-and-neck with SDP
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Centre Party saw a slight reversal of a downward trend in its approval rating, levelling with the SDP at 17.8 percent after an early autumn low of 15.8 percent.
However party leaders will no doubt be pondering how to recover to reach the 21 percent backing it enjoyed during the last general election.
Glimmer of light for Blue Reform
Meanwhile new kid on the block the Blue Reform led by Minister for European Affairs Culture and Sports Sampo Terho, managed to more than double its voter support during December -- and post the biggest gains of all the parties -- to register 2.3 percent backing.
While the current level of support still places it among the country’s smaller parties, it represents a leap forward from its lacklustre performance in previous polls.
The rise in the party’s popularity may be attributed to Terho’s elevation to the party chairmanship at the group’s first formal party convention earlier in December.
Left Alliance and SPP rising
Among the smaller political parties the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party also saw their fortunes brighten in Yle’s December poll.
Support for the Left Alliance increased by nearly a full percentage point – 0.8 percentage points – to reach 8.8 percent, putting it ahead of the Finns Party.
The SPP meanwhile has seen its voter backing fluctuate throughout the autumn. However voters lined up behind the group in the December poll to boost its popularity by more than a percentage point to give it a 4.6-percent voter approval rating.
The Christian Democrats also crept forward in the survey to record an even four percent of voter support.
Finns Party and Greens hold steady
In addition to the SDP, the Greens also suffered an infinitesimal stumble – just 0.2 percentage points and well within the survey’s margin of error – to more or less maintain its position on the political landscape.
However the numbers suggest that the party has managed to stabilise voter support at the current level under the leadership of Touko Aalto.
Now led by anti-immigration hardliner Jussi Halla-aho, the Finns party scored a slight increase in popular backing to reach 8.6 percent voter support.
Taloustutkimus interviewed 2,658 people between 29 November and 27 December for the poll. Nearly 1,600 respondents disclosed their party preference. The margin of error is either side of two percentage points.