The latest YouGov opinion poll for Sweden, released today, shows the anti-mass migration Eurosceptic Sweden Democrats coming top, five points clear of their nearest rival.
Building on what was already a historically strong position for the Sweden Democrats, the YouGov poll puts the party at 26.7 per cent. Their nearest rival, the centre-left Swedish Social Democratic Party polled 21.4 per cent.
By way of contrast, in the September 2014 elections the Social Democratic Party won 31 per cent of the vote. On that occasion the Sweden Democrats secured 12.9 per cent. That third place surprised some international observers, shocked that an anti-mass migration Eurosceptic party could achieve such results in liberal Sweden.
The centre-right Moderate Party polled 20.6 per cent in the YouGov poll, only a small drop on their 23.3 per cent in the 2014 election.
Jimmie Åkesson (pictured above) has proven to be a strong leader of the Sweden Democrats. After he took over in 2005, the former Moderate Party member has seen the party steadily grow at each election, from just 1.49 per cent in 2006 to 5.7 per cent in 2010 and beyond.
Now the party is a real force in domestic Swedish politics, Mr Åkesson’s personal capital has also risen. In early 2015, he was named Sweden’s most important opinion leader in 2014 by the Swedish magazine DSM in their annual rankings.
Sweden is not alone in seeing the rise of the populist right, reports Business Insider Australia. The Freedom Party in Austria has drawn or led opinion polls conducted for the last six months, and in the Netherlands the Party For Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, has been leading by as much as 19 per cent from its nearest rival.
Although opinion polling has not been conducted since the Jihadi attacks on Paris last Friday, Marine Le Pen’s Front National was already riding high on the back of its anti-mass migration Eurosceptic platform. The violence witnessed in the French capital over the last few days and incidents elsewhere in Europe will likely bolster the party’s position.