August 6, 2013 / 7:00 AM / 6 years ago

Norway's opposition lead shrinks before election: poll

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg visits Kvam, a flooded area, in central Norway May 23, 2013. REUTERS/Geir Olsen/NTB Scanpix

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s ruling Labor Party and its allies are closing in on the center-right opposition, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday, suggesting a close race in next month’s parliamentary election with small parties the kingmakers.

Support for two parties aligned with the opposition fell below the four-percent threshold which guarantees them a place in parliament in the September 9 election. Labor’s partners polled higher, TNS Gallup’s poll for TV2 television showed.

In terms of seats in the 169-seat parliament, the opposition’s lead dropped to 12 from 48 in a poll a month ago.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, in office since 2005, has presided over a rare economic success story because of Norway’s immense oil wealth, but voters have become increasingly unhappy with health, education and social services.

In the latest poll, the Conservatives had 31.6 percent support among decided voters, down from 34.1 percent last month, while the populist Progress Party, their potential ally in a coalition government, saw its support decline to 14 percent from 14.5 in July, the poll showed.

Support for Stoltenberg’s Labor rose to 30.1 percent from 28.7 percent.

The Conservatives, led by Erna Solberg, promise to ease government regulation, sell down stakes in state firms, reduce taxes and make government more business-friendly.

Reporting by Victoria Klesty; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Elizabeth Piper

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