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Sweden Dems tout image 'remake' amid poll surge

Sweden Dems tout image 'remake' amid poll surge

Published: 26 Oct 2012 13:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Oct 2012 13:02 GMT+02:00

The far-right Sweden Democrats want to rid themselves of the image that they are a bunch of "angry young men" as a poll released on Friday ranks them as Sweden's third largest political party.

In a poll carried out by research firm Ipsos and published on Friday in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, support for the Sweden Democrats surged 2.7 percentage points to 8.5 percent.

Coupled with a drop in support for the Green Party, which saw its poll figures fall by 2.7 points to 7.2 percent, the Sweden Democrats now rank as the third biggest party in Sweden behind the Moderates and the Social Democrats.

The figures come as the party gets set to release a plan detailing how it wants to alter its image ahead of the 2014 elections.

“There is undoubtedly some justification for the caricature of us Sweden Democrats as angry young men,” the plan reads.

Among other measures outlined in the plan, which will be revealed at a conference over the weekend, Sweden Democrat members should also strive to speak with one clear voice, dress well, and be careful about how they express themselves on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

In terms of policy goals, however, the party remains committed to ensuring Sweden takes in fewer asylum seekers by instead boosting humanitarian aid to areas in the world with large numbers of refugees.

“You can just as well put it that we’re helping more refugees than the other parties,” party leader Jimmie Åkesson told the TT news agency.

Moreover, the new poll numbers suggest that the party is gaining support among a wider cross-section of voters.

While the Sweden Democrats have usually proved popular with young men, workers, and low-educated voters, the poll reveals the party now has supporters among women and pensioners.

However, the greatest growth came among voters in the party's traditional base.

“The clearest growth was among men. If you look at where people come from, the increase is greatest in mid-sized cities and smaller municipalities. We haven’t seen any growth in the big cities,” explained Ipsos analyst Johanna Laurin Gulled to DN.

In terms of efforts to polish the party's image, reining in controversial statements published on social media outlets ranks highly among the Sweden Democrats' priorities looking ahead to the 2014 election.

Both rank-and-file Sweden Democrats, as well as leading voices in the party have stirred up controversy with racially-charged statements on social media, such as when party secretary Björn Söder seemed to question the Swedishness of Eurovision winner Loreen.

Party members also issued a number of controversial tweets in the hours after the massacre in Norway perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik.

“Just because you’re a politician, it doesn’t mean you need to say everything you think all day long,” Åkesson told TT.

“We’re writing in the plan that you left the kitchen table the day you chose to become a politician. At the kitchen table, you can think an awful lot about everything, but as the representative of a party, you have a responsibility.”

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Your comments about this article

13:40 October 26, 2012 by skumdum
SD isn't a far-right party. It's a center party. They are even in my opinion leaning to the left in many issues.
14:16 October 26, 2012 by intrepidfox
Many people hate them but if they agree with democracy then they should shut up. SD according to the latest opinion polls is the 3rd largest party, so that must mean that the established parties are doing something wrong.
14:53 October 26, 2012 by RobinHood
Eight point five percent and rising. The SD's are beginning to leach supporters from the traditional parties in significant numbers. This will continue until the Moderates, Greens and Social Democrats reexamine their own policies concerning things SD supporters find important. As Sweden's third largest party, the SD's have earned the right for a grown-up debate about Sweden's future direction. If the other parties do nothing, the SD's will soon be in double figures. Is this really the type of country we want to live in?
15:36 October 26, 2012 by azimuth
You guys are a bit overreacting imho. In every single country, the government and the ruling parties are always blamed and complained about. So there is no surprise why Moderates are being blamed for every single failure in Sweden at the moment. If Social Democrats were ruling, everyone would blame them. I don't really think SD is any special at all. Even if they come to rule, everyone will start complaining about them, then they will in their turn start losing the electorate.

So just chill down and have a nice weekend! :)

P.S: And don't vote for SD (even taking into account my words).
15:58 October 26, 2012 by intrepidfox
I agree with you Robin Hood. The SD are increasing because the traditional parties are not listening to the people. I am certain that the next opinion poll will show an increase after the latest fiasco with the Alliance and MP. Concerning Azimuth i also agree that we all moan about politicians. The moderates have ruined this country making the poorer poorer and the richer richer. Unfortunately politicians have no idea of reality. They live in a cocoon unable to see the world outside
16:06 October 26, 2012 by azimuth
#5 Sweden is not exception (unfortunately) of the global tendency. Though I totally share your and others' fear of SD coming to rule...
16:40 October 26, 2012 by Abe L
We can only hope that they get in charge and make the much needed changes to protect this country and it's welfare and living standards.
16:47 October 26, 2012 by Iraniboy
Anytime there is a economical problem, support for right wing increases! Look at Greece for example and how Nazis are gaining grounds there! The only solution to avoid extremists is to help their economy!

In Sweden however it is not as easy as Greece or Italy to fool people! Support for SD has increased but so has Social Democrats and Moderates. If you look at the figures you notice Christian Democrats as the most traditional right wing party are now steadily losing their support and now they are something around 2% !!! Their support seems to have moved to SD. It could be explained by recent attempts by Åkesson to purify their party from racism. How he manages to do that and how the economy change in Sweden are two decisive factors for future of SD!
17:32 October 26, 2012 by intrepidfox
#6

I don´t fear the SD. It´s needed to get the established parties thinking again and listening to the people which they do not.

I really don´t care who gets into power as long as they stop the muggings, rapings and gangsters that have surfaced over the last years.
18:20 October 26, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
Far-left propaganda.
19:33 October 26, 2012 by Rap43
They would have to do a lot to fix their image with me... http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweron/6410036197/in/set-72157628170315123
21:15 October 26, 2012 by Uncle
Strangely our Islamic guests do not see the entire process as a reaction to their mmm... different set of values? Somehow it is the economy to blame, or perhaps the weather... Or maybe the nature of historically violent and racist swedes (who said NO to violence 200 years a go). Freaking ANYTHING goes except start looking at their society and start fixing whatever comes here.

Smart immigrants could actually start filtering themselves this flood of the worst kind of society that their medieval countries produced... They would say "we will take care that WE do not bother the nice society that welcomes us". But no, theIr only contribution is to tell the swedes how racist they are...

Well, well continue with this style. Seems that it works very well for you so far.
22:35 October 26, 2012 by Skåne-American
Congrats to the SDs on their recent electoral success. Oh wait, votes won't be cast for 2 more years. Plenty of time for the "rebranded" wolves in sheeps' clothing to say something stupid again.
03:46 October 29, 2012 by ericrufinosiah
I am not surprised by the growth in support of SD,because,it's the party that all

natives Swedish can looked forward to for the Party tells the truth to the natives

Swedish as always.So, in the next National Election,the Swedish Public should

give full support to SD for the party's desire to make Sweden a more safety place

cum prosperity for Swedish and immigrants who had fully integrated into Swedish

societies willingly.
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