Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Politics

Analysis: Despite a booming economy Icelandic government enjoys just 25% approval rating

By Staff

  • Historical unpopularity Just two thirds of the voters of the conservative Independence party, led by the Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson (center front row) support the coalition government. Even fewer voters of the other two coalition partners approve. Photo/Anton Brink.

The right-wing coalition government led by the chairman of the conservative Independence Party enjoys the support of just a quarter of the voters, a new poll by Gallup shows. Barely half of those who voted for the three coalition parties in the 2016 elections are pleased pleased with the government, now that five weeks are since its formation.

The finding is particularly interesting in light of the good economic conditions, high economic growth, rising real incomes, low inflation and low unemployment.

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Only conservative voters support coalition
Two thirds of the voters of the conservative Independence Party approve of the government led by the party's chairman, Bjarni Benediksson. Almost 40% of the voters of center-right Restoration are happy with the government. Only 14% of the voters of centrist Bright Future are pleased with the government.

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The poll also shows that a significant portion of those who actually support the government are unhappy with how it has conducted itself. Only two thirds of those who say they support the government approve of its first five weeks in power, while 8% are unhappy.

Approval of the government is positively correlated with income. A third of voters in the highest income brackets are happy with the government, while as few as 13% of those who have the lowest incomes approve.

Majority of Icelanders believe country is on the wrong track.
Last week the polling firm MMR released a poll which showed that only 45.7% of voters believe the country is headed in the right direction, while 54.3% believed Iceland was headed in the wrong direction.

The poll showed that only those with family earnings of 12 million ISK or more (109,000 USD/103,000 EUR) or more are more likely to feel the country to be headed in the right direction. In this highest income bracket 56% think the country is on the right track, 44% on the wrong track.

Those with annual family income of 7.2-12 million ISK (65,000-109,000 USD/62,000/103,000 EUR) split almost evenly, with 51% feeling the country to be headed in the wrong direction while 49% felt it was headed in the right direction. 64-68% of those with lower incomes think the country is on the wrong track.

Corruption, poverty and inequality main concerns
The poll revealed a remarkable split in the kinds of things people worried about, depending on whether they thought the country was on the right or wrong track.

According to the MMR poll most Icelanders who feel the country is on the wrong track believe that corruption in the politics or the financial sector are a major concern, 68% naming that as one of the three things they worried most about. Poverty and economic inequality came second, followed by the lack of funding for the welfare system, with 66% and 65% of those who think Iceland is on the wrong track worrying about these topics.

Those who think Iceland is on the right track, however, are far less worried about these issues, with only 32-25% naming them as something they were worried about. Instead they worried about social problems like crime and violence or childhood obesity, with 73-80% naming them as the top topics of concern, as well as taxes and inflation, which were named by 59-61% as issues they were worried about. 

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