The Social Democratic Party (SDP), which won last month's parliamentary election by a whisker and is now trying to form a new government, appears to have lost its status as the nation's most popular party. That is according to an Yle/Taloustutkimus poll released Friday.
The first public opinion poll since the election indicates that the top spot now belongs to the nationalist Finns Party. They are now poised to be the main opposition party during the next four-year legislative term. According to the survey, support for the populist party has risen to 18.8 percent, 1.3 percentage points higher than their election result.
SDP support stands at 17.8 percent, about the same as their ballot result in April. Support for the third-place conservative National Coalition Party (NCP), 16.9 percent, is also about the same as their election result.
A Helsingin Sanomat/Gallup poll published on Monday also showed the Finns in first place, followed by the NCP and then the SDP, with the Greens in fourth ahead of the Centre.
The Yle poll also shows growth for the Greens, rising by 1.8 percentage points since the election to 13.3 percent – neck-and-neck with the Centre. The two parties will be partners in the next coalition government if cabinet formation talks proceed as planned.
Also taking part in the SDP-led government negotiations are the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party. They both slightly lost support since the election, now at eight and four percent respectively. There were no significant changes in support for the smaller parliamentary groups.
According to Taloustutkimus research chief Tuomo Turja, the survey results are unsurprising, as parties that succeed in elections usually show a bump in support in the first public opinion polls afterwards.
Turja refers to this as a bandwagon phenomenon. He says this has benefited the Finns Party and the Greens, but not the SDP, whose election result was weaker than expected. After leading polls by a comfortable margin for nearly a year, they eventually only won the election by one seat ahead of the Finns Party
The biggest loser of the election, however, was the Centre Party of outgoing caretaker prime minister Juha Sipilä. According to the poll, its support has continued to slide, down a further half a percentage point more to 13.3 percent. The data in this poll was collected between 15 April and 7 May, before the Centre Party agreed to join coalition talks.
Taloustutkimus interviewed nearly 2,000 people. It estimates the margin of error at +/- 2.3 percentage points for the larger parties.