Barrage of bad poll news for Persson

Göran Persson is set to spend Easter weekend wallowing in a torrent of bad opinion poll news. In addition to another opinion poll showing that the centre-right opposition has overtaken the government, the prime minister must contend with the fact that he is now only the third most popular party leader. In addition, half of trade union members and a majority of voters think that he should resign before the 2006 election.

In a poll by Skop, 49.2 percent of those questioned said that they would vote for one of the four right-wing parties, whereas 48.2 percent favoured the Social Democrats and their allies. The big winner was Lars Leijonborg’s Liberal Party, which saw its share of support rise by almost three points to 16.4 percent.

Social Democrats are likely to be particularly concerned by figures confirming a slump in Göran Persson’s personal popularity. In a poll conducted by Sifo for Aftonbladet, only 30 percent of respondents said that they had faith in Göran Persson’s ability. This contrasts with Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt’s score of 43 percent. Even the Center Party’s Maud Olofsson now appears to be more popular then the prime minister, scoring 31 percent in the survey.

Another Sifo survey, this time for SVT, showed that Persson was also becoming unpopular with his own party members. Thirty percent of Social Democrats surveyed wanted him to resign, 58 percent wanted him to remain as leader.

Members of union organisation LO, which is affiliated to the Social Democratic Party, were even less enthusiastic – half of them wanted Persson to go. Opinions were similar among the electorate at large, with 51 percent of voters saying that the Social Democrats should choose a new leader before the next election.

Further bad news for Persson came in the form of Social Democrats’ opinions on who should succeed him as party leader. Thirty seven percent say that they want EU Commissioner Margot Wallström to take over the reins when Persson goes. Only two percent picked Pär Nuder, believed to be the prime minister’s chosen successor.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet