According to a recently published YouGov poll, an anti-immigrant political party in Sweden has become the most popular single party among the country's voters. The Sweden Democrats, which has previously been accused of having links with neo-Nazi organisations, has the support of 25.2 per cent of the voting public.
According to the YouGov poll they have a higher percentage of support from voters than Sweden's ruling party, the Social Democrats, which has the support of 23.4 per cent of the voting public, and the country's other major political party, the centre-right Moderate Party, which has 21 per cent of the Swedish public's support.
Tommy Nilsson, the Social Democrat party's manager for southern Sweden described the poll results as a 'tremendous breakthrough.' He said: "Immigration is excessive in Sweden and there are too many beggars from eastern European countries. The public are acutely aware that this has become a serious problem in Sweden."
The popularity of the Sweden Democrats has grown rapidly ever since it secured a record 12.9 per cent of the public vote in September, 2014; it is said that this is because people in Sweden have grown increasingly uncomfortable with what some people say is an overly generous asylum system.
Asylum applications said to be too high
Last year, for every one million people Sweden had 8,365 asylum applications, over twice the 3,282 amount received by Austria, which has the second highest number of applications per head in Western Europe.
However, the poll lacks credibility according to some Swedish political commentators who say that YouGov's online polling techniques are 'questionable.'
Commenting on the poll, Andreas Johansson Heinö of think tank, Timbro, said: "This is a self-recruited panel where we're not privy as to how those participating in the poll differ from the viewpoint of the Swedish population as a whole."
An unnamed political scientist, said: "The problem with the YouGov poll, which is based on interviews with 1,527 participants, is that those participants are not randomly selected, some of the respondents sign up to be interviewed, online.
A political expert, Stina Mora, said that the poll indicates that other major parties had fallen short of shaping debates about immigration in Sweden. She also made the point that the Sweden Democrats were highly unlikely to come out as winners in the 2018 election, despite the YouGov poll.
Yet, other commentators say the results of the survey correlate with other, recent polls. Sören Holmberg of Gothenburg University said: "It's not as if the results of the YouGov poll are surprising. It is common knowledge that support for the Sweden Democrats has been growing."
Anti-Immigration Parties more popular in Scandinavia
The growing popularity of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats forms part of a trend across Scandinavia that's seeing a rise in popularity of anti-immigrant political parties. In Denmark, the anti-immigration Danish People's Party has seen a growing wave of support, to become the country's second largest political party following an election earlier this year.
A similar situation occurred in Finland, with the Populist Finns Party rising to become the country's second largest party in the elections; due to increased public concern about immigration policy.
The Swedish Migration Board is anticipating 74,000 asylum applications in 2015, which is down 11,000 from the 85,000 received in 2014.