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Support for nationalists down amid refugee crisis

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Support for nationalists down amid refugee crisis
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
07:58 CEST+02:00
The Sweden Democrats are no longer the country's largest opposition party and have seen their support dip slightly as global attention has focused on the refugee crisis, a new poll suggests.

The nationalists have seen a steady rise in support over the past year, taking them from 12.9 percent in the last general election in Sweden to 21.5 percent in one survey over the summer. But a study by pollsters Inizios and published in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet on Friday suggests that their growth has stalled.

The latest poll indicates that 21.2 percent of Swedes would vote for the Sweden Democrats (SD) if there was an election now. And, somewhat surprisingly, former nationalist supporters are opting to back Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's centre-left party instead, which is strongly in favour of maintaining the Nordic nation's open borders.

“What you can see is that the SD is above all losing voters to S (the Social Democrats),” Karin Nelson, a spokesperson for Inizio told Aftonbladet.

She added that the study also showed that the Social Democrats were moving forward after a long period of seeing their support drop off, while the Left Party was gaining momentum too.

25.4 percent of people questioned said they would vote for the Social Democrats, while 7 percent revealed that they would select the Left Party.

Sweden's largest centre-right party, the Moderates, scored 22 percent in the poll, up slightly from 21.1 percent in a separate Inizios poll earlier this month.

READ ALSO: Prime Minister shows support for refugees at Stockholm rally

The latest study reflects the findings of a separate poll released by rival pollsters Sifo at the weekend, which also suggested that the Sweden Democrat party's support remained virtually unchanged, although it measured the party's support at a slightly lower 17.7 percent, compared to 17.8 percent last month.

Concerns about how the nationalist party is being managed have led to a flurry of members quitting, a major report in Swedish magazine Expo revealed earlier this week.

Sweden is expected to recieve at least 74,000 asylum applications by the end of 2015 and last year took in more refugees per capita than any other EU nation.

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