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Poll: Alliance lead extended

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15:49 CEST+02:00
With four weeks to go before the Swedish general election the centre-right opposition Alliance, has the support of 50.1 pct of voters, versus 45.2 pct for Prime Minister Göran

Persson's Social Democrats and their Left and Green party allies, according to the Synovate Temo survey in Dagens Nyheter today.

The four-party alliance, is headed by the leader of the conservative Moderate Party Fredrik Reinfeldt. The lead for the Alliance is the largest gap between the blocs in any Synovate Temo poll since January.

Sweden's general election is set for Sept 17.

"It looks bad now for Goeran Persson," Synovate Temo polling analyst Nicklas Källebring told the paper.

"Historically, the Social Democrats have not been able to win as much ground in the final month as what is needed now," he said.

Friday's poll confirms the results of other recent surveys.

The Social Democrats have governed the country for the better part of the post-war period with only a few brief interruptions, but political observers have suggested that Persson, who has served as prime minister since 1996, has tired out his welcome among voters who feel the time has come for a change.

Persson has been heavily criticized for being unable to bring down the unemployment rate to his announced target of 4 pct. Officially unemployment was 6.3 pct in June, but credible unofficial figures put it at least 3-4 times higher than this. Youth unemployment in Sweden is around 23 pct, higher than anywhere else in the EU bar the former communist states of Poland and Slovakia.

Persson, who has been criticised for building a large manor estate estimated to be worth more than 2 mln usd while representing the traditionally working class Social Democratic Party, has also come under fire from opponents and pundits for concentrating power in the office of the prime minister.

Political scientist Tommy Möller wrote in a debate article in Dagens Nyheter earlier this week that "the trend towards a head of government who has an increasingly presidential position is neither intended (in the constitution) nor desirable".

Meanwhile, the Alliance – consisting of the Moderates, the Liberals, the Center Party and the Christian Democrats and who have often been divided in the past -- have presented an unusually united front.

In figures:

Social Democrats 34.8 (-2.0)

Moderates 28.6 (+2.3)

Liberal Party 10.2 (+0.3)

Green Party 5.8 (+1.3)

Center Party 5.7 (-0.1)

Christian Democrats 5.6 (unchanged)

Left Party 4.7 (-1.2)

Others 4.7 (-0.5)

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