President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and his main rival for the presidential election on June 30, Þóra Arnórsdóttir, are supported by an almost equal number of voters, 41.3 and 43.4 percent, respectively, as indicated in a new survey by MMR (Media and Market Research), published yesterday.
Þóra is giving Ólafur Ragnar a run for his money.
Other candidates are far behind: Ari Trausti Guðmundsson was mentioned by 8.9 percent of respondents as their favorite, Andrea J. Ólafsdóttir got 2.6 percent, Herdís Þorgeirsdóttir 1.3 percent, Jón Lárusson (who has now dropped out of the race) 1.0 percent, Ástþór Magnússon 0.9 percent and Hannes Bjarnason 0.6 percent.
Political scientist Stefanía Óskarsdóttir told Morgunblaðið that by stating that he finds the fishing quota bill suitable for a national referendum in a radio interview on Sunday, Ólafur Ragnar tried to reach voters who care to speak their minds in referendums.
In the interview, Ólafur Ragnar also implied that he was against Iceland joining the European Union and criticized the government, while commenting on Þóra’s lack of position and experience.
His comments appear to have been effective, Stefanía remarked, seeing how the gap between him and Þóra is closing. The difference between the top two candidates is now within the margin of error.
Stefanía concluded that Ólafur Ragnar’s comments made Þóra’s supporters more upset but at the same time strengthened his position with others.
“I doubt that we will be returning to the presidential office as it used to be,” Stefanía predicted, referring to the office’s role being in the process of shifting from an apolitical and figurative one to one of direct political intervention.
“Ólafur Ragnar is scoring high with those who want to have access to decisions through direct democracy. Icesave gave them a taste of such power which they don’t want to let go of. Ólafur has played this; he presents himself as the person bringing the power to the people,” Stefanía concluded.
The survey was carried out May 10-15 among 972 individuals aged 18-67 selected randomly from MMR’s panel. The response rate was 78 percent.
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