Sweden’s Social Democrats surge in crucial pre-election poll

Support for Sweden's ruling Social Democrats has surged more than four percentage points to 33.3 percent in the last Party Sympathy Survey from Statistics Sweden before September's election.

Sweden's Social Democrats surge in crucial pre-election poll
Social Democrat party secretary Tobias Baudin presents the party's election campaign slogan, '"Our Sweden can do better". Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The rise for the Social Democrats gives them a starting point ahead of this September’s general election campaign that is five percent higher than the 28.3 percent share of the vote they won in 2018, the agency reported

But a fall in support for the party’s Green Party ally means that the left-wing bloc is still neck and neck with the right-wing at the start of the election. 

“There’s no clear coalition of group which would win a majority of the votes if there were to be a parliamentary election today,” said Mikaela Järnbert, a statistician at the agency. “On this you’ve also got to consider that both the Liberals and the Green Party are beneath the four percent threshold in this poll.” 

The agency’s biannual Partisympatiundersökning, or Party Sympathy Survey, is seen as the most trusted political poll in Sweden and today’s poll effectively sets the starting line for this summer’s election campaign. 

Support for the Moderates, Social Democrats, Left Party, Centre Party and Green Party have all fallen compared to the last poll in November, with the Centre Party seeing the biggest fall, down 1.7 percentage points from 8.4 percent to 6.7 percent.

The Green Party’s fall of ‑0.6 percentage points pushes it below the four percent threshold, while the Liberal Party has seen a slight bump under its new leader Johan Pehrson, rising 0.9 percent to 3.4 percent. 

The only other big winner was the Christian Democrats, whose leader Ebba Busch has been running a populist campaign with a tough message on law and order. The party saw its share of the vote rise 0.6 percentage points to 5.2 percent, although Statistics Sweden said that this was not statistically significant, as the margin of error is also 0.6 percentage points. 

On June 8th, Statistics Sweden will publish further results which look at voter attitudes to various important issues of the day, including, this time, their attitude to Sweden joining the Nato security alliance. 

The poll was based on 9,228 randomly selected voters who were all contacted by telephone. Some 4,274 people agreed to answer the questions, a response rate of 46.3 percent. 

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Swedish PM: Moderate Party’s property tax warnings ‘completely absurd’

Sweden's prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, has yet again denied that her party plans to bring back a property tax, calling the Moderate Party's decision to campaign on the issue 'completely absurd'.

Swedish PM: Moderate Party's property tax warnings 'completely absurd'

In a long interview broadcast on Swedish state radio broadcaster SR, Andersson stressed that her party had no plans to bring back the property tax abolished by the Moderate-led government back in 2008. 

“We are not going to campaign on the back of a property tax, have no plans to do it, and have shown over the last eight years that we are not doing it,” she said. “It is completely absurd that the Moderates are running their campaign about this for the third or fourth time in a row. They were cranking this out in 2014, 2018 and now in 2022, and we have not brought back the property tax.” 

When pushed by the interviewer, however, Andersson refused to absolutely rule out making any changes to Sweden’s system of property taxation. 

“If I start to draw red lines, I will risk creating an even more locked situation after the election,” she said. “But there’s no question over what I believe. If you don’t want to bring back property tax, you should vote for the Social Democrats.” 

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO, is in favour of bringing back the property tax, which it describes as “one of the best taxes”, as is the Left Party.

After the interview, Tobias Billström and Elisabeth Svantesson, the Moderate Party’s group leader and financial spokesperson, said that by refusing to rule out bringing back the tax, Andersson had justified their decision to campaign on the issue. 

“Unequivocal message from Magdalena Andersson today in P1 Morgon,” Billström wrote on Twitter. “If the Left Party wants property tax to be reintroduced, it will happen. There are no red lines from S.” 

“Bringing back property tax is on the negotiating table,” Svantesson wrote. “She has no red lines there. Important — but expensive — message for Swedish households.” 

Andersson did, however, say that the Social Democrats want to raise taxes, saying that the party planned to bring in a new tax to fund building back Sweden’s defence capabilities, a so-called beredskapsskatt, or “preparedness tax”. 

“So that this will not end up taking priority over schools, pensions, healthcare and elderly care, we think that those with the highest incomes should be able to pay just a little bit extra towards this,” she said, although she would not go into detail on how “highest incomes” would be defined. 

“But in the economic situation we are in, it’s not the time to raise taxes for ordinary households,” she said.