Niinisto still cruising towards Finnish Presidency

With just over three weeks until Finland elects a new President, incumbent Sauli Niinisto continues to obliterate his seven opponents in voting intention polls. Today’s survey from Taloustutkimus for national broadcaster YLE places the former National Coalition Party (KOK) politician, now running as a nominal independent, on 72 per cent. That is down by eight points since the last YLE poll at the end of November, but with his nearest opponent trailing on just 11 per cent, re-election on the first round of voting looks assured for Niinisto. Indeed his score has not dipped below 60 per cent in a total of seven opinion polls taken in the last three months.

Closest challengers Pekka Haavisto of the Green League (VIHR) and Laura Huhtasaari of the populist Finns Party (PS) see their support levels tick up a point each, but neither is really gaining momentum. Former Foreign Minister and ex-Centre Party stalwart Paavo Vayrynen scores 4 per cent having entered the race late as an independent. The Centre’s official candidate, Matti Vanhanen, is struggling at just 2 per cent – at a time when his party (KESK) leads the coalition government and holds the Prime Minister’s office.

The once-powerful Finnish Presidency is now a largely symbolic role, but the President retains some functions in foreign and defence affairs that are shared with the government. The winner on 28 January (or on 11 February in the unlikely event that a second round is needed) will serve for a six-year term.


Presidential voting intentions, per cent
(change on 30 November poll)

Sauli Niinisto (KOK) 72.0 (-8.0)
Pekka Haavisto (VIHR) 11.0 (+1.0)
Laura Huhtasaari (PS) 5.0 (+1.0)
Paavo Vayrynen (Ind) 4.0 (n/a)
Tuula Haatainen (SDP) 3.0 (+1.0)
Merja Kyllonen (VAS) 2.0 (+1.0)
Matti Vanhanen (KESK) 2.0 (nc)
Nils Torvalds (RKP) 1.0 (nc)

Fieldwork: 27.12.2017-03.01.2018. Published: 05.01.2018. Participants: 1363. Methodology: Telephone poll. Media partner: YLE Uutiset. Full report here.


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