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Opposition maintains strong lead: poll

TT/Tom Sullivan · 24 Jan 2010, 10:07

Published: 24 Jan 2010 10:07 GMT+01:00

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The poll, conducted by Sifo for Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, puts the opposition at 51.8 percent compared to 41.5 percent for the governing centre-right coalition.

Although there have been signs of an upturn in the Swedish economy recently, the government may not necessarily be able to reap the benefits, Toivo Sjörén, head of opinion polling at Sifo, told the newspaper.

"It's not a big thing from the voters point of view as they don't put it down to the government," he said.

"But in an economic upturn, certain issues disappear. For example if the unemployment figures are headed in the right direction, that will become less of an issue."

However as the September 2010 general election draws nearer, the opposition will find it harder to maintain their lead, says Sören Holmberg, professor of politics at Gothenburg University.

"The governing parties will get more opportunities to bridge the gap as the opposition will have to be more specific about their policies ," he told Svenska Dagbladet.

Story continues below…

"We're going to see less debate about what the government stands for and what they have done. Depending on how the opposition explain themselves, it's a potential opportunity for the government. It's not just a question of who can win an election - but also who can lose it."

TT/Tom Sullivan (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:07 January 24, 2010 by Markus D
Soren Holmberg´s comments on the opportunity that the present government have to close this 10 point gap is very interesting. Voters will be wanting to hear exactly how the Social Democrats and their partners will deal with key issues, like the banking crisis, economic downturn etc etc. And if they don´t then the Alliance will gain from this. I think the Alliance could even go further, clearly a big problem these last three years is that the changes the government has made which has benefited people, simply has not got through to them. They must work hard to "market" themselves as the coalition that Sweden needs now for the next 2-3 terms. Changes are needed, they can´t all happen in 4 years, and the Alliance´s policies are making Sweden better.

But the test will be - will they be able to show the voters what they have done so far?

If they don´t, Sweden will vote "from it´s heart" again and we know this will be always to the left.

What do the rest of you think?
01:19 January 25, 2010 by Gwrhyr
All the Swedes I know think that the Alliance's policies have made Sweden worse. I think that if the Alliance loses this election it is because of incompetence on their part to sell themselves to the skeptical part of the Swedish public. They have failed miserably at that and have only focused on working for their own voter base - not for the whole of Sweden.

So in that sense I do agree with Markus D - if they want to win they need to market themselves a lot better to Sweden's swing voters - the people who have kept these voter polls tilting back and forth the past year or so. My gut feeling says that if they have failed to sell themselves successfully to that group thus far then they have no chance before the election.
03:36 January 25, 2010 by Davey-jo
Yes what do the Social Democrats want to do with the banks and the capitalist classes? We live in hope that some sort of restriction will be imposed. Maybe a tax or two? Nothing too stringent because you wouldn't want to scare the poor darlings would you? They might all fly away and leave you with .... well whatever you've already got basically. But that's just wishful thinking.
05:08 January 25, 2010 by Markus D
Gwrhyr, do you live in Sweden? I think nearly everybody would say that the Swedes that think the policies of the Alliance have made Sweden worse, are those who a) don´t want to work and rather live on benefits or b) remain on permanent sick-leave with government support. I remember very well the feeling of people during those few days after the Septemner 2006 elections "what have we done?" "we´ve voted in a right-wing party!!". It was a shock to the system.......it was because, after 70 years of ultra-socialism (bordering on communism) that was getting Sweden nowhere fast, the voters were beginning to look for a change.

This will continue to be the case and if the Alliance can market their policies better, these swing voters will be reassured and vote the same again.

It will be tight, we all know that, but my country deserves a break from what it has had to live with for 3 generations.
06:27 January 25, 2010 by Tutu
i agree with u markus D. i wonder why Sahlin is getting good rating in the polls. I now understand that sweden has one of the highest sick leave in europe before Moderate came into power. Lazy people that dont want to work. I thought Reinfelt did well for people who want to work. the economic crises is not his fault.

I sometimes find it difficult to understand the way our people think.
07:59 January 25, 2010 by Nemesis
I would suggest some of the commentators talk to some actual Swedish people about who they vote for.

Go out of 08 and talk to ordinary workers in resturants, hotels, factories. You will find a whole host of different reason from your interesting ideas.
10:13 January 25, 2010 by Markus D
Nemesis, I live in Sweden and work with and meet many, many people in business and the "ordinary worker" as you call them.

Sorry but what I am saying is true - most consider that the welfare state, under the social democrats, was out of touch with reality and fundamental changes were needed. These changes are happening and are benefiting Sweden.
13:37 January 25, 2010 by izbz
I guess it is a real wake up call for all of Sweden, now they see only after a short time how much of F"#¤%# up the present party have done. Promises of more jobs.....any party can promise that. And it does seems like more jobs have been created but is it sufficient to cover for the jobless, the new graduates and those who have completed high school? Better still now they even have a shooting range, real sick people sent back to work, cutting pension money and great plans to raise the pension age. Just imagine at the age of 65 or more and a cook or a construction worker still have to work their arse off. Maybe they would suggest that these people to look for an easier job. But to do what, who would want to employ anyone above 57 or more? Unless maybe if they have some kind of 'special' skill or working in an executive level. So WAKE UP and make the right decision during the next voting.
15:46 January 26, 2010 by rumcajs
@ Markus D,

70 years of ultra-socialism (bordering on communism) .... what are you talking about?

I might not tell you to talk to the "ordinary worker" coz Nemesis did already and you gave your answer, but hell you need to go to a post-communist country. My wife and son are Czechs and we live in CZ now... and from what I hear from my Father in law and other people who was old enough to remember those times, Sweden has never been even close to what you are talking about.
20:29 January 28, 2010 by J7R2VR
Well, as I know, socialism has diferent meaning in the western thought than in East-Europe. I am from Hungary, and we used "socialism" to name our past system (instead of "communism" which means an utopic post scarcity society, where is no money, because everybody gets the goods and services that are needed).

Socialism wasn't so bad that you think. In Hungary very many of the people remember the past system with good feeling, as it was more humanistic in many meaning than our present capitalism. Yes, during the socialism you had less freedom. For example you were forced to have job. Now you are free to be unemployed. You had to live somewhere. Now you are allowed to sleep in the street. We weren't rich, however what we had, that was dependable. Theatre, movie, opera, literature, education, healthcare was very affordable. Although collective farms were created by state force, later they were flourishing: tractors were so common, that my mother hasn't seen peasant ploughing with horse - now we see. There was a mass-organisation for youth, the Pioneers, which didn't let the youth to get into bad ways. There were hundreds of youth clubs with fizzling life. Now children are free to watch violence on TV, to form street gangs or neo-nazi groups (quite serious infection of our present society), abuse metamphetamine...

Although Sweden was always very far from socialist system - as you didn't have secret political police, one-party system, omnipresent state bureaucracy - your welfare state, social solidarity were closer to our socialist ideals than the socialist countries. The leftist Sweden is the sample for us from the '60s. Be very-very proud of it!
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