A voter survey carried out by the United Minds polling firm and published on Monday in the Aftonbladet newspaper shows support for the Sweden Democrats shooting up 2.3 percent to 8.7 percent overall.
The figure puts the far-right party, which entered the Riksdag for the first time at the 2010 parliamentary elections on a strong anti-immigrant platform, ahead of the 8.5 percent support received by the Green Party and into the third spot behind the Social Democrats (34.6 percent) and Moderates (27.1 percent).
“Our goal is the be the third biggest in the 2014 elections, so this seems spot on,” Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson told Aftonbladet.
United Minds analyst Carl Melin attributed the rise in support for the Sweden Democrats to a recent media report about advice given by imams at mosques in Sweden that contradicted Swedish law, as well as to comments by prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt about unemployment among immigrants and “ethnic Swedes”.
“There’s been a discussion about Islam and the oppression of women among immigrant groups that may have benefited the Sweden Democrats. But it may have also been Reinfeldt’s statements about unemployment have drawn attention to immigrants not finding work in Sweden,” he told the paper.
The United Minds poll showed support for Reinfeldt’s Moderates dropping to levels not seen since April 2010, while fellow centre-right Alliance coalition parties the Christian Democrats and Centre Party also saw their support drop below the 4 percent threshold required for representation in the Riksdag.
At the same time, the political party preferences survey carried out by Statistics Sweden (SCB) – one of the most watched and respected voter polls in Sweden – also shows that Swedish voters appear to be drifting toward parties on the centre-left.
According to figures released on Monday, the Social Democrats, Green Party, and Left Party together have support of 51.2 percent of Swedish voters – enough for a majority in the Riksdag, up from the 44.6 percent received by the three parties in November 2011.
The SCB poll also has the Christian Democrats failing to achieve enough support to keep their spot in the Riksdag.
Support for the Social Democrats, meanwhile, has shot up to 37.3 percent, up from 27.7 percent in November 2011, reaching it’s highest levels since November 2008.
The figure returns the Social Democrats to the top spot in Swedish politics as the country’s largest political party, while the Moderates saw their support drop from 33.4 percent to 28.6 percent.
The Green Party also saw a substantial drop in support, falling from 11.7 percent in November to 8.1 percent.
According to the SCB poll, the far right Sweden Democrats have support of 5.4 percent of the voters, down slightly from the 5.7 percent registered by the party in November 2011.
Statistics Sweden Political Party Preference Survey May 2012
Party, May 2012 result (November 2011 result)
Social Democrats: 37.3 percent (27.7)
Moderate Party: 28.6 percent (33.4)
Green Party: 8.1 percent (11.7)
Left Party: 5.9 percent (5.2)
Liberal Party (Folkpartiet): 5.5 percent (5.6)
Sweden Democrats: 5.4 percent (5.7)
Centre Party: 4.7 percent (5.5)
Christian Democrats: 3.7 percent (3.8)
Other: 0.8 percent (1.4 percent)