This Saturday is not particularly funny if you are a Social Democrat.
In Sweden, DN started the day with ringing the death bell for the party in its reporting about the latest opinion poll which pointed to massive losses for the Social Democrats in the large cities.
Er, well, right…
Let us first note that the Social Democrats still hold a more than healthy lead over the four-party alliance government and that what really needs explaining still is the pathetic performance of the centre-right parties since September 2006. The “red corner” still holds a 13 ppt lead over the “blue corner”.
Second, it is not really surprising that there is a difference between the cities (always Conservative and Liberal territory) and the rest of the country (always Social Democratic territory) in Sweden. Of cause demographic changes with people moving to the larger cities may very well affect the playing field in the shorter and longer run and that Sweden outside of Stockholm’s tullar does not exist in the minds of DN’s editors is a known fact.
And then there is Denmark. The latest Gallup poll tells us that the Social Democrats are only supported by 20,9 per cent of the voters against 20,6 per cent for the Socialist Party. These two parties are the only ones recording major movements and it is obvious to me that the latest round of conflicts of immigration and integration policy is yet again doing severe damage to the Social Democrats. The question is if this is a short-term or a long-term crisis but the elections in 2005 and 2007 have shown us that the electorate on the Danish left wing is now as floating as the electorate on the right wing and that the Social Democratic hegemony is well and truly dead. From an academic perspective this is interesting because the Danish Social Democrats simply have to reinvent themselves from the bottom upwards.
Even following the austerity policies of the mid-1990s, the Swedish Social Democrats never faced such a challenge.