Today’s poll is indeed interesting: A combined support of 48,2 percent for the Social Democrats and SF would put a parliamentary majority within reach for the first time since – well a long time ago. Short of a majority, the poll gives the Social Democrats the control of the long-desired median legislator – and consequently the choice of cooperating with DF, the Social Liberals or the Red-Green Alliance.
But before the champagne is ordered and the corks fly, politicians and commentators are well advised to consider a couple of factors:
1. It’s the economy, stupid
If we look at the support for the Liberal-Conservative governments and the right side in general, it has had a tendency to vary with unemployment and the strength of the economy. When unemployment rise and the economy is perceived as weak, the government faces problems. Which is why I predict that an election is some time away.
2. Don’t confuse short-term jumps with medium-term trends
Remember the Espersen effect which never really transformed itself to a stable increase in the support for the Conservatives? (In an way, there may be an Espersen effect, just not in the way commentators assumed back in 2008) Similarly, some elements of the crisis package are controversial and likely to lead to short-term reactions.
3. An election is not imminent
An established truth in political science is that opinion polls – especially when an election is not imminent – reflect the general mood among voters, not voting intentions.
The poll comes at a time when the trend has been to show a majority supporting the four opposition parties – but without giving SD-SF a free choice of partners. I would expect that coming weeks and months will see a return to this pattern.