Halla Tómasdóttir Gains Steam

Halla Tómasdóttir, candidate for president of Iceland

Halla Hrund Logadóttir and Katrín Jakobsdóttir are neck and neck in the race for president of Iceland, according to the latest poll by Gallup. Halla Tómasdóttir, who had been polling below 5% jumps to 11%, RÚV reports.

Baldur in third place

The polling followed a televised debate on 3 May. Halla Hrund, the Director General of Iceland’s National Energy Authority drops in the poll from 36% down to 25% as Katrín, the former prime minister and chairperson of the Left-Green Movement, rises from 23% to 25%.

Baldur Þórhallsson, a professor of political science at the University of Iceland, is firmly in third place with 18%, while Halla Tómasdóttir, a businessperson and former candidate, eclipses Jón Gnarr, a comedian and former mayor of Reykjavík, who is polling at 10%. Other candidates are polling at lower numbers, but Arnar Þór Jónsson, a lawyer and former judge, has reached 6%.

Difference by age and gender

When the polling is broken down by age, gender, education and political views, it becomes clear that Halla Hrund is popular among men, while Baldur is popular among women. Older people are more likely to support Katrín or Halla Hrund, while younger people favour Baldur and Jón.

The election will take place in one round on 1 June.

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Prime Minister Reflects on Poor Polling

Katrín Jakobsdóttir Bjarni Benediktsson Sigurður Ingi Ráðherra

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, leader of the Left-Green Movement, told RÚV today that low poll numbers should cause the party’s leadership as a whole to reflect on their position. The party is polling at 4.7% in Gallup’s latest poll, their worst numbers since the turn of the century, and would likely not get a single MP elected to Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, if this were to be the outcome in an election.

Two terms in a broad coalition

The Left-Green Movement formed a coalition government with the conservative Independence Party and the centrist Progressive Party in 2017. The coalition continued after the 2021 election, despite Katrín’s party losing three seats in Alþingi. The party has been criticised by both current and former members for conceding too many of their policy objectives and making compromises with their coalition partners.

At a party council meeting this weekend, Katrín emphasised that everyone in the leadership, including herself, should consider their position. She told RÚV, however, that she was not quitting as party leader. “But I think it’s prudent when the polls are like this, and it would be irresponsible not to do so, to consider our position and that goes for me and others in the Movement’s leadership.”

Better communication

“I don’t think this poll reflects the success we’ve had in leading a coalition government through challenging times,” Katrín said, admitting that previous poll numbers have also been unfavourable. “It should make all of us in the Movement consider what we’re doing. It’s also necessary to better communicate the success we’ve been able to achieve.”

Katrín added that she believes that the Left-Green Movement still has an important place in Icelandic politics and that she hopes for an upswing. “I wouldn’t have been in politics for 20 years without being an optimistic person,” she said.

Government Coalition Parties Polling at an All-Time Low

government coalition

The three government coalition parties are polling at a combined 32.6% according to a new survey by Maskína. The Independence Party is polling at 16.6%, its weakest showing of all time since Maskína began conducting polls, while the Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s party, the Left-Green Movement, is in danger of losing all its MPs from Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament.

The poll was conducted from January 10 to 15, around the time the volcanic eruption by Grindavík took place, but before Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson made remarks about asylum seeker policy which have been interpreted as a policy shift for his party, Heimildin reports. Alþingi elections are scheduled for next year.

Coalition tested

The Left-Green Movement is polling at 5.7%, which would make it the smallest of the parties that now have seats in Alþingi. The third coalition member, the Progressive Party, is polling at 10.3%, well below the 17.3% it received in the 2021 election. In the election, the three parties received a combined 54.4% of the vote, but according to the poll, less than a third of voters would choose one of the coalition parties.

Alþingi reconvened this Monday after a Christmas break and a number of issues have tested the strength of the coalition, including whaling, policy on asylum seekers, and the question of how the residents of Grindavík can best be served in the wake of an eruption that did significant infrastructural damage to the town.

Social democrats in the lead

The Centre Party, however, is rising in the polls, with 11.8% support. The Social Democratic Alliance remains the leader in the polls with 25.7% like it has been for more than a year. Since electing a new chairperson, Kristrún Frostadóttir, the party has soared above its 2021 election result, when it received only 9.9% support.

The Reform Party is polling at 11.7%, up from 8.3% in the election. Two of the opposition parties have lost support since the election. The Pirate Party is polling at 7.6%, while the People’s Party is at 6.5%.