Small recovery for Norway’s crisis-hit Labour Party in February polls

After the sensational polling month of January, which saw support for Norway’s Labour Party (AP) slump in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal and a leadership crisis, there was a small narrowing of the average gap with the ruling Conservatives (Hoyre) in February.

Labour bounced back from some of its historic lows in February, most notably with Kantar TNS – in their 8 February poll for TV2 Labour regained 4.2 percentage points from January’s record low score of 19.4 per cent. Among the seven polls which were carried out in both months, Labour recovered in six: the exception being Ipsos MMI where the distance to Hoyre widened slightly, helped by the Conservatives’ best score in this series since September 2014. In other surveys the gap between the two leading parties declined as follows:

  • from 9.3 points to 7.8 with Opinion
  • from 8.6 to 6.5 with Norstat for NRK
  • from 7.8 to 5.4 with Sentio
  • from 6.2 to 3.9 with Respons for VG
  • from 4.9 to 4.0 with Norfakta

Adding in a couple of other surveys which were not carried out in each month (meaning the result should be seen as a rough guide rather than a precise comparison), the average lead for Hoyre fell from 6.6 percentage points in January to 5.3 points in February – see the chart below.

 

 

While Prime Minister Erna Solberg will still be delighted with those numbers, which remain unprecedented in Norway’s opinion polling history, the Conservatives may have passed their peak surge point. For example they exceeded the 30 per cent mark in three surveys in January, but failed to cross that hurdle even once in February. Hoyre has suffered its own harassment scandal, albeit of a lesser political significance than in Labour’s case. It also now faces the hard graft of minority coalition government, having taken four months to construct a deal with the liberals of Venstre in order to add them to its existing alliance with the Progress Party (FRP).

The FRP’s deputy leader joined the list of recent resignations following revelations of sexual misbehaviour last month, but so far the populist party’s opinion poll ratings appear fairly untouched by this development.

Among other parties there is no movement in the monthly polling averages greater more than 0.4 percentage points. The Socialist Left (SV) continues to poll well, generally above its 6 per cent score in last September’s General Election. The small Red (Rodt) and Green (MDG) parties, which have only one seat each in parliament, have enjoyed some good opinion poll results in February, but without breaking out of their habitual ranges.

 

NORWAY February polling average
Storting voting intentions, per cent
(change on January average in brackets)

Conservatives (Hoyre) 28.6 (-0.4)
Labour Party (AP) 23.3 (+0.9)
Progress Party (FRP) 13.7 (-0.4)
Centre Party (SP) 10.7 (-0.4)
Socialist Left Party (SV) 7.3 (-0.2)
Liberals (Venstre) 4.3 (+0.2)
Christian People’s Party (KRF) 4.0 (-0.2)
Greens (MDG) 3.4 (+0.4)
Red Party (Rodt) 3.2 (+0.2)
Others 1.4 (-0.3)

Pollsters and media partners for February: Ipsos MMI (Dagbladet), Kantar TNS (TV2), Norfakta (Nationen og Klassekampen), Norstat (NRK), Norstat (Vart Land), Opinion Perduco (Avisenes Nyhetsbyra), Sentio (Dagens Naeringsliv), Respons Analyse (VG).

 

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