Opposition maintains strong lead: poll

Sweden's opposition has a strong lead at the start of the election year, according to a new poll which puts the left-green coalition more than ten percentage points ahead.

The poll, conducted by Sifo for Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, puts the opposition at 51.8 percent compared to 41.5 percent for the governing centre-right coalition.

Although there have been signs of an upturn in the Swedish economy recently, the government may not necessarily be able to reap the benefits, Toivo Sjörén, head of opinion polling at Sifo, told the newspaper.

“It’s not a big thing from the voters point of view as they don’t put it down to the government,” he said.

“But in an economic upturn, certain issues disappear. For example if the unemployment figures are headed in the right direction, that will become less of an issue.”

However as the September 2010 general election draws nearer, the opposition will find it harder to maintain their lead, says Sören Holmberg, professor of politics at Gothenburg University.

“The governing parties will get more opportunities to bridge the gap as the opposition will have to be more specific about their policies ,” he told Svenska Dagbladet.

“We’re going to see less debate about what the government stands for and what they have done. Depending on how the opposition explain themselves, it’s a potential opportunity for the government. It’s not just a question of who can win an election – but also who can lose it.”

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