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Sweden Democrats gain in another record poll

The Sweden Democrats scored record support in another poll on Tuesday, backing up previous surveys suggesting that voters are abandoning mainstream parties in favour of the nationalists.

Sweden Democrats gain in another record poll
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

The survey by Novus for broadcaster TV4, published on Tuesday, suggests that 19.4 percent of Swedish voters now support the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats. The party mainly sees support growing among labour union members and people in northern Sweden, according to the pollsters.

The largest party in the opposition, the Moderates, scored 23.3 percent in the survey, down by 1.7 percentage points since June. The centre-right party is mainly losing support among its male base, who are instead turning to the Sweden Democrats, the Liberals, and the ruling Social Democrats.

Among its colleagues in the centre-right Alliance opposition, the Liberal party and the Centre party are gaining, while the poll suggests that the Christian Democrats would lose out on a seat in parliament if an election was held today (scoring only 3.3 percent – less than the required 4 percent threshold).

READ ALSO: The ultimate guide to Sweden's party leaders

Although still Sweden's biggest party, support for the centre-left Social Democrats is also steadily decreasing. According to the Novus poll 25.1 of respondents would vote for the party today, its lowest level of support since January 2012.

The survey suggests young voters and labour union members are the two biggest groups abandoning Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's party, mainly in favour of its Green coalition partners, the Left party and the Sweden Democrats.

A separate survey by pollsters YouGov published in Sweden's Metro newspaper sparked headlines last week when it suggested that 25.2 percent of those questioned would now vote for the nationalists – putting Jimmie Åkesson's Sweden Democrats in the lead for the first time in history.

Based on interviews with 1,527 participants partly selected through an online application which respondents themselves signed up for, the poll was criticized by many for its self-recruitment process, including by the chief executive of Novus.

However, while Tuesday's survey still only names the Sweden Democrats as the third-biggest party in parliament, it confirms that its support is growing steadily. The party, which is critical of Sweden's generous immigration policies, has been gradually rising in popularity since it scored 12.9 percent in the country's last general election in September 2014.

According to Novus the party is now the most popular among men, scoring 24.5 percent of male votes compared to runner-up the Social Democrats' 22.4 percent. A total of 14.5 percent of female respondents say they would vote for the party if an election were held today, compared to 27.7 for the Social Democrats and 24.3 for the Moderates.

READ ALSO: Sweden Democrats lead polls for first time

After Germany, Sweden recorded the second biggest number of asylum applications in the EU in 2014 — 13 percent, although as a proportion in relation to its population size, the country is shouldering the biggest burden in the 28 member bloc.

However there are signs that refugees are starting to shun the Nordic nation — which has a global reputation for openness and tolerance — as news spreads about long processing times.

report by Sweden's Migration Board (Migrationsverket) last month suggested that the number of predicted asylum seekers in 2015 would be around 74,000, compared to the 90,000 it suggested in February

2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Sweden Democrat politician charged for posting Hitler tribute

A politician for the populist Sweden Democrat party has been charged with hate crimes after his social media account posted a picture of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and compared black people to monkeys.

Sweden Democrat politician charged for posting Hitler tribute

Mikael Lundin, the deputy chair of the Sweden Democrats in the city of Östersund in northwest Sweden, was charged with hate crimes after the organisation Näthatsgranskaren reported him to the police for a series of posts made by his profile on the Russian social media group VK. 

The posts included a series of pictures praising Hitler, including one with the words “our oath: all for Germany”, and one comparing black people with apes, according to the prosecutor in the case. 

He also in 2017 posted a picture which called for Sweden’s then Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven to be assassinated. 

Lundin denies making the posts, claiming that someone in his household may have been using his account. 

“I cannot give away that much now, but a lot of things are going to come out during the court case,” he told the anti-extremist website Expo. “It may be that someone has logged into my account and posted stuff up there.” 

In his interview with the police, Lundin said that he suspected that either someone in his household had shared the posts, or that he had been hacked. 

An analysis of Lundin’s VK account shows that he is closely linked to members of the extreme neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR), with the extremist group’s leader Simon Lindberg and its parliamentary leader Pär Öberg both among his friends. 

The Sweden Democrats called the posts that Lundin is accused of making as “unusually distasteful and serious”, and said it had opened an investigation into whether Lundin should have his membership annulled. 

“There are reasons to doubt the credibility of the explanations which have been given and the party has, as a result, decided to open an investigation into him in its membership committee,” Ludvig Grufman, a press secretary for the party, said. “The individual in question has also been encouraged to resign from his party posts.” 

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