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Swedish government loses support as COVID-19 strategy comes under pressure

December 2, 2020, 11:22 AM UTC

Sweden’s main ruling party, the Social Democrats, saw a significant decline in support in a fresh poll, adding to signs that voters are worried about the nation’s Covid strategy.

Backing for the party of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven fell by more than 4 percentage points to 29.4%, according to a bi-annual poll published by Statistics Sweden on Wednesday. It follows a November survey that showed 82% of Swedes are worried about whether their health-care system can cope with the pandemic.

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The polls suggest that Swedes are losing faith in their country’s handling of the pandemic. The nation has tended to avoid blanket restrictions on movement, which has coincided with a much higher Covid mortality rate than elsewhere in the Nordic region.

Lofven was last month forced to change tack amid signs that Sweden now faces a dangerous winter with the pandemic. New measures include a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people.

Meanwhile, support for Sweden’s main opposition parties is picking up. The Moderates saw an increase of 2 percentage points to 22.1%, while the nationalist Sweden Democrats saw their backing grow slightly to 17.6%, making them Sweden’s third-biggest party.

If an election were held today, Lofven’s current coalition would get 44.2% support, compared with 45.1% for the opposition, the poll showed.