Labour soars in latest poll

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Another public opinion poll has shown Norway’s Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet, Ap) jumping way beyond its biggest rival at present, the Conservative Party (Høyre), and dwarfing all the other small parties that now seem to be simply hanging on to win representation in Parliament.

Labour’s gain is also coming at the expense of its government coalition partners, the Socialist Left party (SV) and the Center Party (Sp). The latter, traditionally the biggest advocate of rural districts and farmers, now only has support from 3.9 percent of the voters, below the 4 percent level needed for seats in Parliament. SV has just 4.5 percent. Both declined from last month’s comparable poll conducted by research firm Opinion for newspaper group ANB.

Labour, meanwhile, jumped 4.7 points to claim 38.3 percent of the vote, its highest level in years. The rival Conservative Party (Høyre) fell 2.2 points, to 27.8 percent.

“Labour’s advance can surely reflect that they’ve done a lot of things right recently,” the Conservatives’ leader Erna Solberg told newspaper Dagsavisen in a rare concession late last week. Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is also extremely popular.

The only opposition party that showed any growth was the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp), which moved up four-tenths of a point to claim 14.3 percent of the vote. That’s still way below the nearly 23 percent the party had after the last election.

The polls results leave the long-struggling Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkepartiet, Krf) in an interesting and potentially powerful position, courted by both Labour  and Høyre to join a prospective government coalition when the next national elections roll around in 2013. Krf had 5.1 percent of the vote, making it the biggest of the small parties but still down from last month.

Views and News staff