Sweden Democrats fourth-largest party

With 6.6 percent of voters backing them, the far-right Sweden Democrats have grown to be Sweden’s fourth-largest party, according to the latest poll from research institute Sifo.

The increase in support for the party, 1.9 percentage units in the past month, is likely explained by the recent debate between party leaders, aired on national TV last Sunday, in which Jimmie Åkesson, the Sweden Democrats’ leader, received a lot of attention.

Immigration issues were the most important selling point for the party’s supporters when they were voted into the Riksdag in 2010.

These questions are less central now for those who say they support the Sweden Democrats, according to Sifo.

“We also see that the party has tried to widen its politics, but not very successfully,” Toivo Sjörén, head of Sifo’s polling division, said to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

The Social Democrats receive support from 36.7 percent of voters, which is basically unchanged from last month’s poll. Since Stefan Löfven took over as head of the Social Democrats in January, the party has seen rapid growth in the polls.

The Moderates dropped by 1.4 percentage units, landing on 27.7 percent.

“There’s a risk that the large governing party is struck by tiredness, when trying to win their third election in a row,” said Sjörén.

“Elections are never won by what the party has done, but by what it’s going to do.”

The Christian Democrats lost another 0.4 percentage units, and are once more under the 4 percent threshold required to maintain representation in the Riksdag.

Since the election in 2010, the party has lost nearly half of its voters.

Sympathy for the other small parties remains largely unchanged.

The gap has continued to grow between the governing centre-right parties and the left-wing opposition, and the opposition is now in the lead by 10.1 percentage units.

Sifo’s poll was originally published in newspapers Svenska Dagbladet and Göteborgs-Posten.

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