An opinion poll released on Monday was a bit of a mixed bag for Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
The good news for Thorning-Schmidt is that for the first time since assuming the prime minister post in 2011, more voters approve of her performance than disapprove.
The bad news is that it wasn’t by much and that her approval rating is still below 50 percent.
In an Epinion poll conducted for Danmarks Radio, 47 percent of voters thought that Thorning-Schmidt was doing a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ job as the nation’s prime minister, while 45 percent thought the opposite.
In the nearly three years she has sat in the pine minister’s office, it was the first time that more voters approved of Thorning-Schmidt than disapproved.
David Trads, a political commentator for TV2, told The Local that the poll results revealed an “odd situation”.
“It’s very important to note that this is the first time the PM has had more voters who support her than are against here, but she is still below 50 percent and her party and her coalition is still falling far behind her opposition. It’s an odd situation to see a PM who is personally quite popular – and much more popular than the leader of the opposition – but yet not even close to winning. How is this possible? I believe it's because Danes are generally more right-wing these days, and policy does, after all, matter more than personalities.”
The prime minister’s personal headway was tempered by the fact that her Social Democrats are still struggling with finding support. Just 20.7 percent of respondents in the Epinion poll said that they would vote for the Social Democrats if an election were to be held today, significantly below the 24.8 percent support the party received in the 2011 election.
Thorning-Schmidt will have to call an election no later than September 2015, unless of course she has left for Brussels by then. An EU top meeting on August 30th is expected to reveal if the Danish PM will get the nod for the position of either European Council president or the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
If Thorning-Schmidt accepts one of those posts, her most likely replacement as prime minister is the current employment minister, Mette Frederiksen, who also received good news in the form of a recent voter poll.
Frederiksen was named the most popular politician in an Epinion poll released on Saturday. Coming in behind her were Justice Minister Karen Hækkerup and Social Minister Manu Sareen. The three least popular politicians were the recently-replaced Conservative leader Lars Barfoed, Liberal Alliance’s Simon Emil Ammitzbøll and opposition leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen of Venstre, who has seen his popularity plummet due to a number of spending-related scandals.