Weather Forecast


How the sleaze investigation initiated on Social Democrat leader, Juholt is affecting support for the party

Sunday, 16 October 2011
Swedish people are very sensitive to the question of sleaze and anything that could make Sweden look like a banana republic. That is to say the Swedish common man is very worried when Swedish is placed along countries that could be perceived as corrupt. Even when global corruption index show Sweden to be some where in away from the top first or second, the people hate it. They want to be the country with zero corruption.

This is why irrespective of how a leader could be seen as good in driving its party or the economy during hard times, when ever information fall around that such a head of public institution is involved some how in sleazy business, it push the Swedish people away.

The bad press about the leader of the Social Democrats in recent weeks has meant that it will affect the support for the party – especially as he is still there as the head. This is why there are some big wigs in the party who still feel that the leader has to go so as to safe the party some face.


Håkan Juholt has not himself been a very popular leader of Sweden’s biggest political party. Since his election to the helm of the party early this year, his popularity among the Swedes in general and the party supporters in particular has not been very impressive. Even supporters of the Social Democrats and its opposition coalition members have in most cases shifted their support to the current Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Real evidence is shown this week when a new opinion poll was collected. It show that the Social Democrats plummeted in public opinion in the last week’s poll carried out by polling organisation, Sifo after interviewing people for two weeks in October. The second interview was carried out the week before the party leader, Håkan Juholt’s sleazy benefit scandal became an open secrete.

The Social Democrats party was on the upswing during the interviews, the first week and remained at 35 percent on Oct. 6 after presenting its own budget motion to counter the governments spending proposal. But by October 7, it became known that the leader, Juholt had fiddle with his expenses from parliament for a home that he shared with his partner.

Between 8 and 13 October the second opinion testing was carried out and it show that voters’ support for the party slumped to 26.9 percent. The largest driver to the collapse was seen among the older voters in the outside of the cities, a group in which the party would otherwise have strong support among.

In total over for the two weeks the Social Democrats stood at 30.3 percent down 1.3 percentage points since September.

The Conservative Moderates stood at 28.2 percent, for the first test week. As the Social Democrats swung low, public opinion after 7 October – shifted to the conservative Moderates such that in the second week their total support rose to 32.8. Overall, the party ended up at 31.1 percent for two weeks, minus 1.6 since September.

This is what the fear of corruption or suspected sleaze does to a leader in Sweden and the time has come for a party to think of itself. What it stand for and respect that. Juhold was allowed to stay but it remains to be seen what lasting effect such moves will have on the party.
By Team

Report Error | Write to the editor | Complaint about this article | Print Friendly and PDF

 What do you think about this article? Could you leave a comment?
  • Should be Empty:



    To break down voter support from Sifo, below is the voter’s perception for October with the change from September in parentheses.

    Moderates 31.1 percent (- 1.6),
    Liberal Party 6.8 percent (+1.0)
    Center Party 4.9 percent (+0.4),
    Christian Democrats 3.8 percent (- 0.3)
    The Social Democrats 30.3 percent (- 1.5)
    Left Party 6.3 percent (+0.9),
    Green Party 10.1 percent (+1.2)
    Sweden Democrats 5.5 percent (+ / - 0)

    1925 voters were interviewed on October 3 to 13.
    Several newspapers have published this  Sifo voter barometer.