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Yle poll: SDP at new high, Finns edge up, Centre flounders

After a early summer slip, support for PM Sanna Marin's party has bounced back to a new record high.

Party support july.
Image: Ilkka Kemppinen / Yle

Yle's latest monthly voter survey shows support for Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Social Democratic Party at record levels.

The poll, commissioned by Yle and carried out by Taloustutkimus in July-August, shows voter backing for the SDP at 23.4 percent, up by 1.5 percentage points from the previous month.

The SDP has gained more support among women, with the poll also indicating sharply growing popularity with older segments of the population.

“It can be clearly seen. Support is coming in from women and those over the age of 50. Retirees are clearly in evidence,” says Taloustutkimus Research Director Tuomo Turja.

The SDP's popularity has risen by 5.7 percentage points since the spring 2019 parliamentary elections.

The party's support peaked in this latest poll period when Marin returned from the European Union summit that agreed on an EU budget and a stimulus package in late July.

Finns Party edging up

Second place in the poll is held by the opposition Finns Party at 18.9 percent, a 0.8 percentage point increase.

The Finns Party also seems to have received a boost from news of the EU stimulus package which was sharply criticised by party chair Jussi Halla-aho.

The gains registered by the Finns Party are mainly from growing support among male voters.

“The increase has come from men in their prime working years. The strengthening its position as the largest working party among the working population,” Turja explains

In contrast, support for the other main opposition party, the conservative National Coalition (NCP), declined slightly, with voter support registering at 17.3 percent. This is the same level as it saw in the last parliamentary elections.

Support for the Centre stagnant

Backing for the Centre Party, a member of the government coalition, slipped by 0.9 percentage points to 10.5 percent.

A possible boost from a race for the party's top spot that started at the end of July was not reflected in the poll. Party chair Katri Kulmuni will be facing a battle to retain party leadership at a September convention.

“If we ignore the fractions, the Centre is frozen into being an 11-percent party. There is a little variation in support, but it doesn’t go up or down. They are pretty much at the base of their support,” Turja says.

Greens pass the Centre

The Greens, another government coalition partner, passed the Centre in this poll, with 11.6 percent support. The increase was 0.7 percentage points.

Reports of Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto being under investigation for official misconduct do not seem to have shaken supporters' confidence in the Greens. The alleged offences took place last autumn when Haavisto re-assigned consular chief Pasi Tuominen following a disagreement over a plan to repatriate Finnish citizens from the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria.

Support for the Left Alliance, another member of the five-party coalition government, was at 8.1 percent, down by 0.6 percentage points from the previous month's poll.

“There seems to be some leakage [of support] from the Left Alliance to the Social Democrats,” says Turja.

The Yle poll showed no substantial changes in support for coalition partner Swedish People's Party, the opposition Christian Democrats, or other small parties.

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