Populist Sweden Democrats four points ahead of Moderates in new poll

The populist Sweden Democrats are now a full four percentage points ahead of the Moderates -- traditionally Sweden's biggest right-wing party -- in the first of the new daily polls from broadcaster SVT and Novus.

Populist Sweden Democrats four points ahead of Moderates in new poll
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson (SD) presents a report on immigration at a press conference last week. Photo: Fredrik Persson / TT

According to the SVT poll, the Sweden Democrats now have the support of 21.5 percent of voters, compared to 17.4 percent for the Moderates,. 

“This sets out the playing field between now and the election,” said Torbjörn Sjöström, Novus’s chief executive, about the poll. 

He stressed, however, that the new daily polls, which are based on just three days of interviews, would be more volatile than the polling agency’s normal polls, but would also make it possible to better understand how opinion is swinging back and forth as the campaign progresses. 

“You should see this as showing the score in a match which will not be finished until the whistle blows on election day,” he said. “This doesn’t say anything about the future. If you lead a match three-nil in the first half, you’re in a good position, but you have not won.” 

The Sweden Democrats official Twitter account welcomed the poll as “a good start to the week”. 

“Now we’re on a sprint for the last bit of the election campaign,” it said. “The SVT Novus poll shows that we’re starting to catch up with the Sossarna [The Social Democrats]. Welcome on board the victory train.”

Figures on the economic right opposed to the Moderates’ decision to try to take power with the support of the Sweden Democrats, used the poll to argue that rather than weakening the populist party, the strategy had strengthened it. 

“If I was Ulf Kristersson, I would be extremely worried over today’s Novus, to put it mildly,” wrote Tove Hovemyr, from the Green liberal thinktank Fores. “It’s going so well – this idea that if you get close to SD, both in mandate tactics and policy, it will become smaller. It’s a small price to pay. Yeah, right.” 

Sjöström also told SVT that there was a large margin of error in the poll, making it impossible to know for certain if the Sweden Democrats were as far ahead of the Moderates as they seemed to be. 

“This survey shows that it is statistically certain that the Sweden Democrats would be bigger than the Moderates if there were an election today, but exactly how large that difference is is affected by the margin of error.” 

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Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.