A new poll carried out by market research company Sifo shows that prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt currently holds a 68-15 lead over the Social Democrat leader, which represents the largest gap in years.
“It is important to have a leader and people who command the confidence of voters, but politics is just as important. This survey shows that there is a long way to go. The decline has probably been due to last week’s events,” said party secretary Carin Jämtin.
The news comes as a further blow to Juholt as he clings on to his leadership.
He won a temporary relief earlier in the month when prosecutors dropped an investigation into improper accommodation reimbursements he had claimed and he held on to his job as a result, but the latest poll shows that the voters may be harder to win over than his party colleagues.
The phone survey asked 1,000 people “Who do you trust most as prime minister?” The response was overwhelmingly in favour of Reinfeldt, who now enjoys a 53 point lead over his rival.
“Of course I’m glad that there is strong support for the work I am trying to do to renew the Moderate Party and the policies we are working with in Sweden. I also think it should be remembered that the measurement was made in the light of a problematic time for the Social Democrats. They will surely overcome it though, and then things will look different,” said the prime minister.
The poll will nevertheless be a blow to Juholt as he looks to rebuild his reputation and faith among voters.
A similar survey carried out before the recent scandal was much closer, with Reinfeldt enjoying a 59-20 lead over his opposite number.