Stoltenberg surges as stablemates stumble

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Photo: Kristian Skårdalsmo/Scanpix
17:26 CET+01:00
Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, remains far more popular than his main rivals, but underperforming coalition partners could cost him his post, a new poll has shown.

Some 51.5 percent of voters surveyed named the Labour Party leader as their first choice to head the next government, according to a poll conducted by Norstat at the beginning of January.

Stoltenberg’s commanding lead represented a 3.3 point month-on-month increase for the incumbent, national broadcaster NRK reports.

Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg slipped 2.9 points to 33.7 percent, while Siv Jensen of the Progress Party fell back 0.8 points to 6.7 percent.

Of the 721 respondents polled, 8.5 percent said they didn’t know who they would like to see as Prime Minister after next year’s general election.

The Labour Party also ruled the roost in a poll of party preferences, as a 2.8-point rise put them well out in the lead with 34.8 percent.

The survey made decidedly less cheery reading for Stoltenberg’s coalition partners in the Socialist Left Party. Outgoing leader Kristin Halvorsen saw support for her party drop to 3.5 percent, below the 4-percent threshold for parliamentary representation.

Bård Vegar Solhjell, who heads the party’s parliamentary group, regretted the plunge in support, believing he and his colleagues “should be getting greater recognition” for pushing through their policies in government.

The Liberal Party too slipped below the threshold, scoring 3.7 percent, 1.9 points below the party’s December tally.

Elsewhere, the Conservatives climbed 0.7 points to 28.1 percent, while the Progress Party shed 1.1 points for a total of 15.8 percent.

The Christian Democratic Party jumped 1.4 points to 6.1 percent, while the Centre Party enjoyed the support of just 4.9 percent of respondents, down 1.3 points.

Converted into seats, the poor showing for the Socialist Left and Centre parties would open the door for a Conservative-led government if an election were to be held this month, with the Red-Green parties securing 74 seats to the opposition’s 95.

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