Anti-Immigrant Sweden Democrats Now the Biggest Party, According to Poll
The party described the poll figure as a “tremendous breakthrough” after a poll put them ahead of two of the country’s parties
AN anti-immigration party with roots in the neo-Nazi movement has become Sweden‘s most popular political party, according to a YouGov poll published on Thursday. (ILLUSTRATION: Jimmie Aakesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats Party)
The Sweden Democrats now have the support of 25.2 per cent of voters, putting them ahead of both the ruling Social Democrats with 23.4 per cent and the centre-right Moderates with 21 per cent, according to the August poll for Metro newspaper.
“It’s a tremendous breakthrough for us,” Tommy Nilsson, party manager for southern Sweden, told the Telegraph. “There’s too much immigration and too many beggars from eastern Europe. People are starting to realise that this is a serious problem for Sweden.”
The populist group has seen its support surge since winning a record 12.9 per cent of the vote in last September’s general election — largely on the back of growing disquiet about the country’s generous asylum policies.
In 2014, Sweden received 8,365 asylum applications per million of population, more than double the 3,282 received by Austria, the country in western Europe with the next highest number of applications per head.
Some Swedish political commentators downplayed the poll, questioning YouGov’s internet polling techniques.
“The problem with YouGov is that they don’t use randomly selected people,” Andreas Johansson Heinö from the Timbro think tank, told the Expressen newspaper. “This is a self-recruited panel where we don’t know in what way respondents differ from the population as a whole.”
But others said that the survey was in keeping with the trend seen in other polls. “It is not as if this is very surprising,” Sören Holmberg from Gothenburg University told Metro.
“We have long seen a tendency that the Sweden Democrats are heading for an increase [in support].”
The rise of the Sweden Democrats mirrors a trend seen across Scandinavia, with the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party and populist Finns party both becoming their countries’ second largest parties in elections this year.
Sweden’s Migration Board now expects to receive 74,000 asylum seekers in 2015, compared to 85,000 in 2014.
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