Closing the gap?
Latest opinion poll from Sweden's general election campaign (Temo poll, published 22/8, data collected 14-20 Aug, sample of 1,780):
Social Democrats - 37.7% (+ 2.9% from previous week's poll)
Left Party (former communists) - 3.6% (-1.1%)
Greens - 5.3% (-0.5%)
TOTAL LEFT: 46.6%
Moderates (i.e. Conservatives) - 28.0% (-0.6%)
right-wing Liberals - 9.8% (-0.4%)
Centre Party (farmers) - 6.1% (+0.4%)
Christian Democrats - 5.4% (-0.2%)
TOTAL "BOURGEOIS BLOC": 49.3%
So it looks like the Social Democrats have some traction, consolidating their vote on the left and taking a little bit of support direct from the right. This % score is only a little less than their vote in the 2002 election.
BUT the big problem from these figures is what happens to the former communist Left Party, which as recently as 1998 got 12% in a general election. If they dip below 4% they fall foul of the 4% clause in Swedish election law and get no seats at all, which removes a potential ally of the Social Democrats from the parliamentary maths. 4.01% means they get approx. 4% of MPs, 3.99% means they get none at all. That 0.02% difference could determine whether Sweden gets another Social Democrat minority government or a 4-party centre-right coalition.
Traditionally the Social Democrats used to ensure the Left Party stayed in parliament by tacitly encouraging Social Democrat party members to vote tactically for the Left Party - the so called "comrade four percents". Will they need to do this again?
I await the first "Akehurst advocates tactical vote for commies" comment ...