Sweden’s Governing Party Keeps Poll Lead Despite Covid Criticism

(Bloomberg) --

Sweden’s governing Social Democrats remain in a strong position, despite mounting criticism over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, according to a poll on Saturday.

The party had the support of 30% of voters, compared with a reading of 31.7% in May, according to the poll by Sifo in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. That difference is within the poll’s margin of error. The Moderates, the leading opposition party, also gained in popularity during the pandemic and had the support of 19.5% of voters in the poll.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has been the target of criticism from political opponents because of his government’s controversially soft lockdown policy. His party has seen large political gains during the crisis, despite the resulting high mortality rate.

“The recent criticism against the government doesn’t seem to have affected the Social Democrat Party to any larger extent,” Toivo Sjoren, head of opinion at Sifo, told the newspaper. The Swedish government is still benefiting from the Covid effect, he said.

At 4,854 deaths as of Friday, Sweden’s Covid mortality rate is now among the highest per capita in the world, and many times higher than in the other Scandinavian countries.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who at the end of last year were a contender to become Sweden’s largest political force, have seen the largest drop in support and are now at 18.9%.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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