Swedes shift from Liberal ideology to a more Conservative one, poll shows
According to a study conducted by the polling company Ipsos on behalf of the Swedish media, fewer Swedish voters now identify as liberals than they did a year ago.
The percentage of Swedish voters who identified as liberals last year was 31%; today, it is only 26%.
The shift in sentiment is especially evident among supporters of the in power Moderates. The proportion of self-described liberals has decreased from 46 to 35 percent in a single year. The party is returning to its origins since it has long been the dominant right-of-center force in the Nordic nation, and at the same time, the percentage of Moderate voters who identify as conservatives has expanded to a commensurate degree.
One of the foundations of Swedish politics is the Moderate Party, which has a history dating back over a century and was formerly known as the Right and the Conservatives. Since the middle of the 20th century, it has largely been the only party to challenge the Social Democrats’ dominance over the country.
Yet it was during Fredrik Reinfeldt’s presidency that the Moderates adopted a liberal and progressive stance. Sweden adopted a “open borders” policy during the Reinfeldt administration, when the prime minister urged his countrymen to “open their hearts” and welcome large immigration. Ulf Kristersson, the current leader of the Moderate Party and Prime Minister, ran on the platform of “straightening out Sweden,” promising his supporters that he would address issues like crime and the immigrant crisis with a conservative agenda. For this, the liberal phalanx attacked him internally.
Other right-wing groups like the Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats exhibit a similar trend of fewer people who identify as liberals and more conservatives.
A comparable development has occurred with feminism. In Sweden, the proportion of voters who identified as feminists in 2021 was 30%; it is now only 24%.
This demonstrates again again how Swedish politics have changed. Sweden’s minority coalition government, led by the Moderates, said in late 2022 that it was abandoning the “female foreign policy” that had been proudly adopted by the nation’s left-wing predecessors less than ten years prior.
Tobias Billstrom, Sweden’s foreign minister, among others, claimed that the Social Democrats’ strategy was detrimental to Sweden’s international goals.
While Sweden has long placed a focus on women’s rights and attempted to position itself as their champion both domestically and internationally, the results of the self-described “feminist foreign policy” have been at best dubious, as Sweden under Social Democrat rule managed to sour relations with both Israel and the Arab world as its then-Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, a vowed feminist, recognized Palestine as a state and criticized Saudi Arabia.
Swedish commentators blamed a news cycle dominated by wars, crime, and problems ranging from the energy to the economy for the seeming collapse of liberalism and feminism. The liberal project is “no longer dominating,” according to Ipsos analyst Nicklas Kallebring, with the public conversation shifting away from it.