Poll: SDP and Greens get back abstainers from 2007 election
The Social Democratic Party and the Green League appear to have won over as supporters many Finns who did not vote in the Parliamentary elections last year.
Former non-voters have also been moving toward the True Finns party, whose support has improved considerably over the result of the Parliamentary elections.
According to a fresh poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by Suomen Gallup, changes in party support are slight, but there has been a shuffle in the ranking order of the largest parties.
The Centre Party of Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has fallen to third place, with 21.7 per cent support, right behind its government partner, the National Coalition Party, which gets 21.8 per cent. The largest party now is the opposition Social Democratic Party, with 22.6 per cent support, according to the HS Gallup.
The poll gives the Green League 9.3 per cent support.
All of the shifts fall within the margin of error of the study. "There are no surges into any party now", said Juhani Pehkonen of TNS Gallup Oy.
An increased uncertainty over which party to support is typical for the current political climate in Finland. There are few shifts from one party to another. Parties who have managed to gain supporters from among those who were previously indifferent, and who managed to lose the least number of supporters, have experienced the biggest growth in support.
The number of people who are uncertain of their choice has increased. In the latest poll one in three respondents did not know, or did not want to say which party they would vote for.
Uncertainty has also increased among those who gave a preference. The greatest proportion of uncertain supporters are with the Greens, but also those who have switched from being non-voters to supporters of the Social Democrats tend to be uncertain of their choice.
White-collar workers have been traditionally surer of their political stand than blue-collar workers, but now uncertainty has hit them as well. Only 35 per cent of high-ranking white collar employees are sure of their party choice, down from more than 40 per cent in the autumn.
The study does not say which factors have raised the Social Democrats or pushed down the Centre. One possible reason for a decline in support for the Centre could be the controversial closure of the Kemijärvi pulp mill. The north of Finland, the area most directly affected by the closure, has more unsure respondents than any other part of the country.
The Social Democrats, meanwhile, could have benefited from their recent large amount of public exposure. The interviews for the poll were taken a few days after Eero Heinäluoma had said that he would not seek re-election as the SDP chairman, and there was a surge of coverage of the race for his successor.
The poll involved telephone interviews with 2,432 Finns in mainland Finland taken between the 12th of February and the seventh of March this year.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Poll: slight decline in support for Centre and National Coalition parties (24.9.2007)