Race still close in Finland as voters waver

With Finland’s municipal election campaign now in its final few days, a new Kantar TNS Gallup poll for Helsingin Sanomat out this morning gives the centre-right National Coalition Party (KOK) its best opinion ratings of the year so far.

KOK narrowly leads the Social Democrats (SDP) and the Centre Party (KESK), with the Green League continuing its strong polling ahead of the (relatively) struggling Finns Party. Together KESK, KOK and the Finns form Helsinki’s coalition government under the Premiership of the Centre’s Juha Sipila.

While there is little to choose between the big three contenders, the SDP will be disappointed with another score under 20 per cent. The Finns have picked up a little since the last Kantar locals poll was released two and a half weeks ago.

As in other recent European elections, it seems abstention and late decision-making by voters may play key roles in deciding these contests. According to the poll some 43 per cent of respondents are either undecided or say they will not vote.

Given the grassroots nature of the elections (295 councils will be elected), Kantar also asked whether voters would decide primarily according to party loyalty or by reference to individual candidates. 55 per cent claim to be influenced primarily by the candidates themselves; 35 by party; and 8 by both equally. Interestingly it is Finns Party supporters who are mostly likely (59 per cent) to place more weight on the candidate. Whether that will turn out to a blessing or a curse by the time the polls close on Sunday evening remains to be seen.


Voting intentions for municipal elections
Per cent (change on 18 March poll)

National Coalition Party – KOK 19.7 (+0.7)
Social Democratic Party – SDP 19.3 (-0.6)
Centre Party – KESK 18.3 (-0.7)
Green League – VIHR 11.9 (+0.5)
Finns Party – PS 10.7 (+1.3)
Left Alliance – VAS 8.1 (-1.0)
Swedish People’s Party – RKP 4.8 (nc)
Christian Democrats – KD 3.9 (nc)
Others 2.7 (-0.2)

Fieldwork: 23.03-30.03.2017. Published: 04.04.2017. Participants: 2002.


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