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General elections, election study 2006:

White collar workers elected the new Moderates

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2008-01-31 9.30

At the start of the 2006 election the Moderate Party described themselves as the new "workers' party". However, the Swedish election studies show that the Moderates’ "breakthrough" among LO (the Swedish Trade Union Confederation) members (13 percent M votes) and among blue collar workers (13 percent M votes) is far from any historic record.

It was among white collar workers and not blue collar workers that the Moderate Party made the clearest gains in the 2006 election. The proportion of Moderate votes varies from 26 percent among lower-level salaried employees to 39 percent among senior salaried employees. Among blue collar workers the share was 13 percent, the same percentage as in the 1991 election. Correspondingly, people with lower education were less likely to vote for the Moderate Party than those who were highly educated, as were those belonging to LO (usually blue collar workers) than among trade unions for white collar workers and academics.

Among the unemployed, the Moderate Party was clearly less successful (+2 percentage points compared to the 2002 election) than among those were gainfully employed (+13 percentage points). Those who had been on sick leave for more than one month during the most recent year were also less apt to vote for the Moderates (+8 percentage points) than among those who had never been on sick leave (+14 percentage points).

Drift towards conservatism helped the Alliance

Left-right wing ideology and opinions on left-right wing issues are constantly the most significant explanations for party choice and party change. The drift towards conservatism is thus the main explanation for the Alliance victory. Never before have so many Swedish voters (46 percent) placed themselves to the right of the left-right dimension as in the 2006 election.

Those who switched blocs - voters who changed parties over the bloc borders compared to the 2002 election - are especially interesting to study for explanations on the change in government. The five issues that were felt to be more important among those who switched from the Red-Green Bloc (Social Democratic Party + Left Party + Green Party) to the B-Bloc (Moderate Party, Christian Democratic Party, Centre Party and Liberal Party) were the economy, taxes, education, family policies and employment. Employment was most important for those who switched from Social Democratic Party to the Moderate Party, followed by taxes and the economy.

Dissatisfaction with government led to Social Democratic downfall

Voters who left the Social Democrats for the Alliance reported they were tired of the government as often as they reported ideology or concrete issues as reason for the switch (both are reported by 35 percent). More explicitly, a reference to Social Democratic leader Göran Persson as a reason for switching was given by 15 percent of those surveyed.

Today Henrik Oscarsson and Sören Holmberg, active in the Election Research Programme at Göteborg University present an initial analysis of voters' behaviour in connection with the 2006 election. More interesting results are presented in the section Alliance Victory that is included in Statistics Sweden's publication General Election 2006. Part 4. Special studies. The publication also presents the results of the nominated and elected candidates in the general election of 2006 and voter turnout in the general election of 2006.


General Elections in 2006. Part 4. Special Studies includes all the special studies that were conducted in connection with the general election of 2006. 

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

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