Poll: Finns Party continues to lose support
National Coalition Party largest, Centre and SDP neck-and-neck for second place
With municipal elections coming in the autumn, the opposition Finns Party continues to lose support. According to a fresh poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by TNS Gallup, overall support for the party has fallen by 7.1 percentage points from last summer’s record levels. Now the party is in fourth place with 15.6 per cent support.
The National Coalition Party remains the most popular, getting 23 per cent support, followed by the Centre Party with 16.7 per cent and the Social Democrats with 16.4 per cent.
Next in line are the Greens (10.4%) the Left Alliance (8.4%), the Swedish People’s Party (4.1%), and the Christian Democrats (4.0%).
Finns Party vice chairman Juho Eerola believes that the numbers could decline even further in the near future, but he says that he expects a turnaround before the municipal election.
Eerola does not believe that the party’s decline is the result of the negative publicity from the actions of Members of Parliament Teuvo Hakkarainen and James Hirvisaari.
“All last year our support was at a higher level than in the Parlaimentary elections, in spite of the fact that MPs and aides made blunders, myself included.
Eerola points out that the turnaround happened in connection with the presidential elections.
“We had a magnificent candidate, but the party leadership – us vice chairs – did not manage to get the people in the field, the district organisations, and the local organisations to work like they did a year ago.”
Eerola estimates that the party’s hard core of supporters is about ten per cent of the electorate. “The presidential elections and the European Parliament elections of 2009 showed that. On top of that come the floating voters”, he says.
The fall in support for the Finns Party is astounding, says Ville Pitkänen, a political scientist at the University of Turku.
“It is too early to say if the trend will continue. I would say instead that their support has evened out.”
In Pitkänen’s view, the party’s problem is that there is no political debate underway in Finland at the moment that would raise issues that the Finns Party prioritises.
The National Coalition Party remains the largest, although its numbers have fallen close to the level that they were before the presidential elections.
Although the Centre Party is now in second place in the past year, party leader Mari Kiviniemi is not satisfied.
“I am a demanding person and I want better results”, Kiviniemi says.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Poll: National Coalition Party and Greens making gains in Helsinki – SDP slides back to 3rd place (19.3.2012)
Poll: Finns Party support plummets, National Coalition Party most popular (14.2.2012)