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Polls point to tight race in Danish election

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Polls point to tight race in Danish election
The polls still narrowly point to Lars Løkke Rasmussen returning to power. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
11:07 CEST+02:00
With Denmark's general election now underway, there seems to be an opinion poll everywhere one looks. And although they still point to a likely victory for the opposition parties, the gap appears to be closing.
Here's a rundown of opinion polls released from the first day of the election
 
‘Red bloc' closing in
Although her coalition of left-of-centre parties has consistently trailed the opposition in the polls, PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt is gambling that she can make up the gap over an intense three-week campaign.
 
A poll conducted on the election's first day shows that she may be right. 
 
According to a Gallup poll for Berlingske, the opposition blue bloc parties are at 51.8 percent support to the red bloc's 48.8 percent. Translated into parliamentary mandates, that would give the opposition 89 seats to Thorning-Schmidt and company's 86. When factoring in the mandates from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the tally becomes 90-89 in favour of the opposition. 
 
 
The poll represents a significant jump from one released on Monday which showed the government and its allies with 45.6 percent of voter support, compared to 54.3 percent for the opposition.
 
“This poll indicates that the momentum that the red bloc has had through the spring will continue into the election. Throughout this election cycle there have been individual polls that were close to showing a red majority but they were exceptions that stuck out from the other polls and were typically tied to [opposition leader Lars] Løkke [Rasmussen's] various scandals,” Aarhus University political science professor Rune Stubager told Politiko. 
 
Helle Thorning-Schmidt handed out roses and posed for selfies at Nørreport Station on Wednesday. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt
Helle Thorning-Schmidt handed out roses and posed for selfies at Nørreport Station on Wednesday. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt
 
First-time voters prefer the opposition
While Thorning's team may be narrowing the gap, young first-time voters would prefer to see former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen return to his old job.  
 
A YouGov poll for Metroxpress showed that 52.2 percent of first-time voters prefer the opposition parties, which in addition to Rasmussen's Venstre also include the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DF), the libertarian party Liberal Alliance, the Conservatives and the barely-registering Christian Democrats. 
 
47.8 percent of the young voters preferred the red bloc parties, which include the PM's Social Democrats, the Social Liberals (Radikale), the Socialist People's Party (SF), the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) and the newly-established Alternative. 
 
Radikale, Liberal Alliance and Enhedslisten all appear to have significantly higher support among young voters than the general public. 
 
According to political commentator Henrik Qvortrup, clear and uncompromising messages appeal more to young voters. 
 
“There are two parties that don't find themselves in the mush of consensus that Danish politics sometimes resembles and they are Liberal Alliance and Enhedslisten,” he told Metroxpress. 
 
Lars Løkke Rasmussen handed out brochures and posed for selfies at Nørreport Station on Wednesday. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt
Lars Løkke Rasmussen handed out brochures and posed for selfies at Nørreport Station on Wednesday. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt
 
Thorning still preferred
While her coalition continues to trail in the polls, Helle Thorning-Schmidt is still the preferred choice for prime minister. 
 
In a Megafon poll carried out for TV2 and Politiken, 49 percent of Danish voters said they would rather see Thorning-Schmidt continue as the nation's leader while 38 percent would prefer to see Rasmussen return to power.
 
Twelve percent of voters saw no real difference between the two. 
 
Three winners in the first round of debates
The first evening of the election campaign featured back-to-back panel debates with the leaders of all ten political parties. 
 
According to a poll conducted by TV2 and Politiken following the debates, viewers thought that DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl performed the best. Forty-four percent of respondents put Dahl among their top three performers of the evening.
 
Just barely behind Dahl was Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen. The Enhedlisten leader was ranked as one of the three best performers by 43 percent of viewers.
 
Although the two political opposites were neck-and-neck when measured by viewer's top three performers, Thorning-Schmidt received more first place votes than any other debate participant. 
 

L-R: Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Social Democrats), Kristisan Thulesen Dahl (DF), Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF), Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre) and Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen (Enhedslisten). Photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix
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