With just over one month to go before Swedes head to the polls on September 9, Jimmie Åkesson’s Eurosceptic party has taken a commanding position – after securing the backing of 19.1 percent of potential voters.
It comes after the party pushed back against the arrival of 163,000 asylum-seekers to the country in 2015 during the refugee crisis, which helped contribute to the increase of the foreign-born population from 11 percent at the turn of the century to 18 percent this year.
Its leader has attempted to swerve the party from its fascist past while also vowing to strengthen the border between Denmark and Sweden and offering a referendum on whether to leave the European Union.
These policies have resonated with a wide cross section of voters, who first elected the party to the Riksdag in 2010.
Now the latest survey by Inizo has placed them in third, behind the Social Democrats and the Moderate Party, on 24.8 and 20.4 percent respectively.
However, the centre-left government’s handling of the country’s devastating forest fires has given it a boost, with the electorate approving of the measures, including getting support from Polish firefighters.
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven only needs 24 percent to secure a party majority, but it would still be their worst result since 1912.
The results, based on the voter intentions of 2,295 people aged 18 and above, will, however, come as a blow for Mr Åkesson, after a previous Novus poll last week put them on 22 percent.
All parties in the Riksdag have vowed not to enter into coalition talks with the nationalists, forcing Mr Åkesson to rely on a large voter turnout to effectively bend the government and opposition to his will.
But Inizo’s chief analyst, Karin Nelsson, believes the Sweden Democrats have lost voters to the Christian Democrats, which they see their best chance to topple the current Red-Green coalition.
She added: “This setback for the Sweden Democrats, in my view, is because many of their backers will lend their vote to the Christian Democrats, which they view has a chance to form a block with the Moderates, Sweden Democrats and the Christian Democrats.»
According to the latest poll, carried out between July 25 and August 2, the Alliance (formed by the Moderates, Centre Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats) look set to secure 39.1 percent of the vote.
This would put them just ahead of the Red-Green coalition (formed by the Social Democrats and Green Party), which scored 38.4 percent.
With the narrow margin between the two blocks, the SD could become kingmakers and could use their casting ballots to sink, or approve any legislation in the Riksdag.
Speaking last month Mr Åkesson said: “We are prepared to bring down any government we think is not leading Sweden in the right direction.”