Government party dives in the polls

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Norway’s Socialist Left party (SV) fell nearly two full percentage points in the latest public opinion poll conducted by Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). It wouldn’t even win representation in Parliament if an election were held today.

SV leader Kristin Halvorsen addressing the crowds in better days in 2005. Now voters seem to be turning their backs on her. PHOTO: Sosialistisk Venstreparti, SV.no

SV could only claim support from 3.9 percent of Norwegian voters, below the 4 percent level generally needed for seats in Parliament. NRK’s poll, conducted by research firm Norstat, showed gains by SV’s government partners Labour and the Center Party but is very bad news for SV itself.

The poll results compare to nearly 5.9 percent for SV in the last poll conducted by Norstat in September and to SV’s 6.1 percent level at last year’s national election. SV has been slipping in other recent polls and its election result last fall was itself a major drop from the previous election.

“This just shows we have to work even harder,” Bård Vegar Solhjell, who leads SV’s group of 11 Members of Parliament, told NRK on national radio Thursday morning.

Party leader Kristin Halvorsen won strong reviews when she held the post of Finance Minister during the three-party left-center coalition’s first term, but she’s had a lower profile during the past year as Education Minister. Halvorsen admitted herself last spring that SV had lost some of its sparkle.

The poll indicates SV hasn’t succeeded in getting it back. While it tumbled in the polls, Labour (Arbeiderpartiet) gained 2.1 points and now holds 29.7 percent of the vote, making it Norway’s largest party once again. The Center Party edged up half-a-point, to 5.1 percent of the vote.

A new conservative wind that started blowing in Norway last summer, meanwhile, lost some of its force in the new poll. The Conservative Party (Høyre) also fell nearly nearly two points, down 1.8 to 26.3 percent of the vote, while the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) rose 0.7 percent. Together, they now hold just under 50 percent of the vote (compared to the current government coalition’s 38.7 percent) but remain a force to be reckoned with should the two finally get together to form a new coalition of their own.

The struggling Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti, Krf) rose slightly in the new poll to 4.8 percent, putting them over the limit needed for representation in Parliament. The Liberal Party (Venstre), however, remained under the limit, with just 3.6 percent of the vote. Norway’s most left-wing party, Rødt, claimed 2.1 percent.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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