How the Green leaders have alienated almost everyone

How the Green leaders have alienated almost everyone
Gustav Fridolin and Åsa Romson meet the press after Mehment Kaplan's resignation as housing minister. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
A miserable week for the Green Party was confirmed on Friday as support for its two figureheads sank like a stone.

Deputy Prime Minister Åsa Romson and Education Minister Gustav Fridolin have faced a barrage of criticism for their handling of a spate of scandals.

In a new Demoskop survey for the Expressen newspaper, a measly 6.3 percent of voters said they had confidence in Romson. Fridolin fared slightly better, with 15-percent support, but his was the steepest tumble of any party leader as his stock dropped 11 percentage points in less than two weeks. 

The spokespersons, a term they prefer to leaders, have come under intense fire since it emerged last week that the then housing minister, Mehmet Kaplan, had kept company with Turkish extremists. 

The leadership pair deflected the criticism, even when a clip showed up of Kaplan comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and they continued to back the minister after he announced his resignation at a joint press conference with the prime minster, Stefan Löfven. 

They weren’t helped much by party veteran Per Gahrton, who somehow managed to blame Israel for stirring the pot. 

Romson then found herself in the eye of the storm when she referred to the 9/11 terrorist attacks at “accidents”. She later clarified to The Local what she had meant but for many, it seems, the damage was done. 

More trouble loomed around the corner when a rising star in the overtly feminist party, Yasri Khan, refused to shake a female journalist’s hand. He resigned but commentators were left wondering what had happened to the sweet little junior partner in Sweden’s government. 

After a week like that, maybe it’s little surprise that Romson and Fridolin are rooted to the bottom of the list when it comes to voters’ confidence in party leaders. 

“Fridolin has previously had a fairly decent position whereas Romson has had problems for a longer period,” Demoskop’s chief analyst Peter Santesson told the TT newswire. 

“The fact that both spokespersons are diving at the same time is very problematic for them.” 

The figures show that Fridolin is losing ground among women and non-Green Party left-wing voters, areas where he has previously performed very well. 

A separate Sifo survey for SVT news shows that Green voters are also losing faith. Six months ago 85 percent of Green Party voters surveyed said they had high or very high trust in Gustav Fridolin. That number has dipped to 72 percent. Romson’s support in the same category slipped from 59 to 41 percent. 

Sifo’s survey was carried out on April 21-22, at the height of the crisis. Like the Demoskop poll, it too showed confidence in the pair plummeting among the overall population. 

Demoskop survey 

Confidence in party leaders: April 4-10, April 21, change (percentage points)

Gustav Fridolin, Green Party 26.5, 15.2, -11.3

Åsa Romson, Green Party 10.7, 6.3, -4.4

Stefan Löfven, Social Democrats 28.2, 28.9, +0.7

Jonas Sjöstedt, Left Party 33.1 29.1 -4.0

Anna Kinberg Batra, Moderates, 32.7, 39.6. +6.9

Annie Lööf, Centre Party 31.3 34.3 +3.0

Ebba Busch Thor, Christian Democrats 14.6, 18.3, +3.7

Jan Björklund, Liberals 26.4, 28.3, +1.9

Jimmie Åkesson, Sweden Democrats 17.6, 21.2, +3.6