“There is no normal politics at all” as Social Democrats pull ahead in latest poll

The Finns Party have seen their support erode the most during the coronavirus crisis, as the public perceives Sanna Marin and her government to be doing a competent job.

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File picture inside parliament, December 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

A new poll published Wednesday in Helsingin Sanomat shows Prime Minister Sanna Marin‘s Social Democrats extending their lead, the Finns Party taking another tumble, and the other parties stagnating.

A wide sample of 2,214 people were questioned between 20th April and 14th May about which party they would vote for if a general election was held now.

Some 22.1% said they would vote for the Social Democrats – up 1.7 percentage points since the last Helsingin Sanomat poll. In second place 18.1% of people said they would vote for the populist Finns Party, a fall of another 2.1 percentage points.

All the other parties have seen their support stay the same, or move up or down by margins of 0.3% or less. However the five parties in the government’s coalition now enjoy a combined support of 57%.

“The funny thing is that the popularity only seems to go to the Social Democrats. The Greens are pretty much the same and the numbers for the Centre Party are catastrophic in historical terms” says Professor Markku Jokisipilä, from the Centre for Parliamentary Studies at the University of Turku.

“We can explain this that Sanna Marin gets so much publicity and the public seems to be happy with the way she’s handling things. We have 300 people dead which by international comparison is a very low figure, and the majority of ordinary people think this is under control now and it gives them a basic satisfaction in the government’s line” he tells News Now Finland.

Opposition parties waning 

During the last several months of the coronavirus crisis the main opposition Finns Party have seen their support fall the most, although the National Coalition Party has also seen a downturn in voter support.

Professor Jokisipilä doesn’t think that Finns Party supporters are necessarily switching their allegiances, rather, they’ve lost interest in politics.

“Jussi Halla-aho has been almost completely invisible for the last couple of months and people have again become indifferent to politics. Now with the coronavirus the Finns Party haven’t been able to do much of anything. There is no normal politics at all.”

Professor Jokisipilä says that there’s not many opportunities for opposition parties to play a traditional role during the crisis, especially when public perception is that the incumbent government has been doing a competent job at handling events.

However he cautions that there is always a “tipping point” in politics when support for an apparently popular government begins to wane.

“It has always happened in the past, and it will happen in the future as well.”