Sweden Democrats make historical gains in opinion polls

22.08.2015994
By any measure, Sweden Democrats are on the rise. Credits: Svenska Dagbladet

By any measure, Sweden Democrats are on the rise. Credits: Svenska Dagbladet

21 Aug. — The results of a survey by Sifo/SvD-GP were published in Sweden. These results showed that the populist party Sweden Democrats is the third most popular one in the country. The day before, the results of a YouGov poll putting the party in first place attracted international attention.

Sweden Democrats is in third place in terms of members in parliament. Having 49 seats, it is behind only the ruling Social Democratic Party, with 113, and the opposition Moderate Party (84). Meanwhile, despite its impressive representation, the Sweden Democrats are not participating in any coalition. There is an unspoken “cordon sanitaire” around it due to accusations of xenophobia.

However, the results of the YouGov survey, published in the Metro on 20 August, created quite a commotion – not only in Sweden but also in other countries. (For example, even the Financial Times wrote about these results.) This is because the party achieved such high numbers: the Sweden Democrats received 25.2%, outdoing both the ruling party (23.4%) and the opposition party (21.0%).

Experts acknowledged in commentaries that social moods can fully explain these results, which may be considered credible. They pointed to such topical issues as the immigration wave, ethnic crime and begging, to which the leading parties are unable to provide a comprehensive response and thereby reassure the population.

As the Novus public opinion poll showed in turn – its results were published in the Metro on 21 August – the majority of people either are unconcerned about the ultra-right (Nazi) party’s past (33%) or are, to the contrary, sympathetic to it (26%).

Several experts, on the other hand, urged for caution when interpreting the data. According to them, there are some flaws in the YouGov methodology which became immediately apparent in the results of the last survey.

However, the Sifo results published the very next day showed that even if YouGov is mistaken, it is not so far off target as to let the leading political parties breathe a sigh of relief. According to them, the Social Democrats have 26.3%, the Moderates have 24.5% and the Sweden Democrats – 17.8%. Svenska Dagbladet, citing the indicators for the Sweden Democrats over the last five years, was forced to recognise that the party had risen rapidly “by any measure”.

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DETAILS OF OPINION POLLS

1,527 people took part in the YouGov survey conducted 14-17 August.

The Sifo survey was conducted 10-20 August. 1,930 people participated.

The Novus survey was conducted 13-17 August and 1,011 people took part.