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Poll: Centre Party leads in advance of Sunday election

SDP weaker, National Coalition Party gains

Poll: Centre Party leads in advance of Sunday election
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The Centre Party is going into Sunday's Parliamentary elections in pole position. According to a poll, commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by Suomen Gallup about a week before the election, the Centre Party had the largest amount of support, while the Social Democrats had fallen into second place.
     The results of the survey indicate that the Centre has about the same amount of public support as it did in a poll taken in February, and that the SDP has lost ground.
Differences between the large parties are slight. They, and all other changes indicated by the poll fall within the margin of error.
     Nevertheless, during the past year, the trend appears to be that support for the SDP has gradually weakened. The difference with the results of the February poll is less than one percentage point.
The decline of the opposition National Coalition Party, which had continued for about six months, appears to have turned around.
     The National Coalition Party is closing in on the Social Democrats, which is adding to the excitement of the final stretch of the election campaign. A close look at the figures shows that the Centre Party has a bigger lead over the Social Democrats than the SDP lead over the National Coalition.
     Compared with the previous Parliamentary elections, the main government parties, the Centre and the SDP, have lost support, while the National Coalition Party has made considerable gains.
The results of the HS Gallup appear to be in line with surveys of two other research institutions have made note of.
     According to a poll commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting company YLE, the Centre Party had slipped ahead of the Social Democrats already in January.
     Another poll, commissioned by the commercial television network MTV3 and published on Tuesday, showed a clear advantage for the Centre Party.
Small and medium-sized parties had not had much change in the past month.
     Compared with the previous Parliamentary elections, the right-wing populist True Finns appear to have gained somewhat, while the Christian Democrats are slightly down, although they have picked up some support in recent months. The Green League, meanwhile, appears to have lost support.
In its analysis of the results, Suomen Gallup points to one factor of uncertainty that should be taken into consideration.
     It appears that an exceptionally large number of those who voted for the Social Democrats in the municipal elections of 2004 are now undecided. Their decisions could affect the differences between the large parties in a manner that is difficult to anticipate.
Certainty of choice appears to have increased in recent months; the new poll shows that 53 per cent of respondents were completely sure of their choice. A similar poll taken four years ago before the previous elections put the figure at 56 per cent.
     The least certain of their choices were supporters of the Green League.
The poll involved telephone interviews of 2002 people, conducted from March 9th to the 13th.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Poll: Social Democrats and Centre running neck and neck as elections approach (26.2.2007)
  Poll: Voter turnout in March elections could fall from 2003 level (29.1.2007)
  Opinion poll: SDP and Centre neck-and-neck (18.12.2006)

Helsingin Sanomat

  15.3.2007 - TODAY
 Poll: Centre Party leads in advance of Sunday election

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