Sweden’s centre-left opposition parties now have enough support for a majority according to the latest Political Party Preference Survey, while combined support for the centre-right Alliance coalition has fallen to just over 40 percent.
The Moderates find themselves with the support of 26.9 percent of the electorate, while the Social Democrats’ support has climbed to 35.6 percent.
Despite the poll lift, Social Democrat party secretary Carin Jämtin cautioned the party “won’t be satisfied” until it wins the 2014 election.
“We need to win the election, then we can create more jobs and better education in Sweden,” she told the TT news agency.
Her counterpart with the Moderate Party, Kent Persson, was unhappy with the poll results.
“It shows that we have more to do. We need to be more clear in describing what our policies mean for people in their daily lives,” he said.
However, a majority from either bloc is far from certain, according to political scientist Nicholas Aylott at Södertörn University in Stockholm, as the Sweden Democrats continue to poll strongly, registering voter support of 7.7 percent in the latest Statistic Sweden survey.
“The results suggest that the Sweden Democrats will likely maintain their current representation in parliament and it’s quite plausible that could end up depriving either bloc of achieving a majority,” he told The Local.
While Aylott emphasized that “the battle lines have been drawn” ahead of the 2014 elections and the Alliance will once again campaign as a coalition, recent signals sent by the Social Democrats and the Liberals suggest that Sweden’s next government could look considerably different than it does today.
“After the election, all bets are off,” he explained.
“Depending on the result, there may be considerable pressure on some of the parties on the centre-right to make a deal with the Social Democrats.”
Aylott referred to recent signals sent from the Liberal Party, including European Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson’s recent suggestion that the Green Party could be invited to join a centre-right coaltion, as well as a joint opinion article on tax reforms co-authored by the party’s youth wing and that of the Social Democrats.
“I wonder very much if all of this is purely coincidental,” he said.
“In some post-election scenarios, the pressure on the Social Democrats and the Liberals could be quite intense.”
Aylott said the new poll results confirm that Sweden is in for a “very exciting” election in 2014.
“You see that very small differences in outcomes could have a very large impact in terms of different political scenarios,” he explained.
Not only could many Christian Democrats lose their representation in parliament, depriving the Moderates of a key coalition partner, but it appears the Social Democrats are set to return to their traditional role at the heart of Swedish politics.
“The Social Democrats’ traditional strength has been their ability to co-opt smaller parties on the right into making a deal while at the same time being able to rely on support from the left,” Aylott explained.
“In recent elections they lost this strategic pivot position, but if they are able to recapture it in the next election, that will return them to that power position.”
Aylott cautioned, however, that the next elections are more than a year away, and a lot can happen before then.
“It’s hard to say how much pressure or exactly on which parties that pressure will fall” to cut a deal across traditional ideological lines.