Danish opposition retakes poll lead days before vote, race close

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 15, 2015 1:54 AM

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's center-right bloc of opposition parties has taken back the lead in surveys days ahead of a national election, but many people are still undecided and the vote will be one of the closest in years, pollsters said on Monday.

The opposition bloc, including the Liberals and the right-wing Danish People's Party, led politiko.dk's poll of polls with 51.4 percent, against 48.6 percent for Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's Social Democrats and its allies.

Thorning-Schmidt's campaign got off to a strong start as her ratings rose on the back of a raft of spending promises and her declarations that Denmark's economic crisis was over, after months of trailing the opposition.

But analysts say Liberals leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen came out on top in last week's debate on immigration and state spending, while Thorning-Schmidt had faced criticism, even from her allies, over what they say is her overly negative campaigning style.

Just one out of a series of recent polls, a survey conducted by Voxmeter, showed the ruling parties still ahead with 50.3 percent.

"Twenty percent of the voters don't know who to vote for on Thursday. Of course, it goes a little bit up and a little bit down all the time -- in fact, it's 50-50," said Camilla Fjeldsoe, head of Gallup's political division in Denmark.

Gallup has the opposition at 51 percent and the ruling parties at 49 percent but noted that 1.5 percent of the opposition's votes belonged to party highly unlikely to get into parliament because if its to a 2-percent threshold.

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Adding to the mix, most polls do not take into account voters in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, who each send two parliamentarians to the 179-seat assembly and could tip the balance in a close vote.

Analysts say the parties likely to win in the North Atlantic lands will lean towards the Social Democrats but they may first try to eke out concessions and could flip to the opposition bloc if they feel that would serve their interests better.

(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Andrew Heavens)