Magazine claims True Finns are attracting supporters from all three large parties
The True Finns party, chaired by MEP Timo Soini, has gained supporters from all three large parties in the country, indicates an extensive survey on the True Finns’ previous voting behaviour published by the weekly periodical Suomen Kuvalehti.
However, one-fifth of the present supporters of the True Finns are those who did not cast a vote at all in the previous Parliamentary Elections in 2007.
The survey is based on the results of a study conducted by the polling agency Taloustutkimus and commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).
The exceptionally extensive assay of voting habits was carried out in the period from March through September and it involved a total of 23,637 respondents.
A total of 10% of the present supporters of the True Finns announce that they cannot remember for which party they voted in the previous parliamentary elections.
One in ten respondents is a former Centre Party supporter, while 9% previously supported the National Coalition Party and 8% were former SDP supporters. Soini is believed to attract specifically large parties’ voters with social conservative values.
The old supporter base of the True Finns is some 34%.
The low figure can be explained by the fact that the party has been increasing in popularity.
Apparently, the Swedish People’s Party has the most loyal voters, as a total of 83% of its supporters voted for the party in 2007 as well.
The corresponding percentage for the Centre Party is 80% and for the Green League 66%.
The figures for the other parties are between the two extremities.
The rise of the True Finns, who enjoyed as much as 14% support in a recent poll, is seen as a measure of the disaffection many feel with politics and politicians.
The party has traditionally tapped into the "little guy against the powers in Helsinki" mood in sections of the populace, and this has only benefited from the sequence of political scandals - election financing issues being at the top of the list - that have littered the last few years.
The populist True Finns' critical stance on immigration and their EU-scepticism have also struck a chord with the public, but there have been some question-marks over whether a traditional protest party would actually relish government responsibility.
As one linked article notes, the True Finns' natural predecessors the SMP found the changeover a difficult one.
Previously in HS International Edition:
YLE poll: True Finns hot on heels of Centre Party (25.10.2010)
Poll suggests increased confusion over politics (15.10.2010)
NEWS ANALYSIS: The True Finns. Not just populists any more (7.9.2010)