From Iceland — Last Poll Of 2019: Conservatives Hit Record Low, Surpassed By Social Democrats

Last Poll Of 2019: Conservatives Hit Record Low, Surpassed By Social Democrats

Published January 2, 2020

Photo by
Jóhann Heiðar Árnason

The Independence Party has reached another record low in terms of levels of support, Vísir reports, according to the latest and final Maskína poll of 2019. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have surpassed them, and support for the ruling coalition continues to decline.

Bearing in mind that the Maskína poll only applied to parties currently in Parliament, the Social Democrats topped the list in terms of which party people would vote for if elections were held today. They came in at 19%, well above the 12.1% support they won during the 2017 elections. At the same time, the Independence Party is now at only 17.6%; a record low for the party, even lower than they were clocked at by an MMR poll last September.

The Independence Party is a part of Iceland’s ruling coalition, led by the Left-Greens and supported by the Progressive Party. Both of these parties have also declined in the polls, with the former now down from 16.9% in 2017 to 11.7% today, and the latter down from 10.7% to 7.4%.

A fracturing right, high corruption perception

The are two strong factors at play that could explain why the Independence Party, traditionally the most supported party in the country, is doing so poorly.

First, two new right wing parties entered the fray in 2017: the Reform Party and the Centre Party. The former has more than doubled their support since the last elections, going from 6.7% to 14% today, while the latter has gone from 10.9% to 12.1%. Where the Reform Party is generally regarded as “conservative light” and are pro-EU, the Centre Party is more populist. It is therefore not outside the realm of possibility that these two parties have siphoned off some support from the Independence Party.

Second, another Maskína poll showed that the vast majority of Icelanders—about 72% in all—believe that there are high levels of corruption in Icelandic politics. When party support demographics of these respondents are examined, Independence Party voters were the least likely to state that they felt this was the case, whereas the majority of voters for literally every other party in Parliament believe Icelandic politics are corrupt.

Pirates up, People’s Party down

Where other parliamentary parties are concerned, the Pirate Party has been having a fairly good time of it—they went from 9.2% support in 2017 to 14% today. The same cannot be said of the People’s Party, who went from 6.9% in the last elections to just 4.1% now, and would therefore be highly unlikely to win a seat in Parliament if elections were held today.

Absent from this poll was the Socialist Party, who do have a councilperson in Reykjavík City Hall—Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir—and are likely to run for Parliament when elections are held next year.

However, an MMR poll published on December 20th gives some indication as to where their level of support stands. Whereas they were polling at only 3% last November, this poll put them at 5.2% last month, which would win them a seat in Parliament if elections were held today. Whether that support will bear out in 2021 will come to light at that time.

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