Tallinn University political scientist Tõnis Saarts said that the latest political party popularity polls are deeply influenced by last month's local election results, especially the Reform Party's rating, which was at an eight-year low.
Saarts told uudised.err.ee today that the general consensus is that the Reform Party lost the elections, but looking at the hard numbers, the Social Democrats were last of the four parliamentary parties.
“The effect of the elections should last a few months, after which we can really see if the prime minister's party is on a downward spiral, or the drop was just a small glitch,” Saarts said.
He said that the Reform Party should not blame others for its meager results, but should be more critical of its own activities and make appropriate changes. This, however, could also mean a turn towards more populism.
Only 18 percent of polled people said they would vote for the ruling party if general elections were held today. The Reform Party's coalition partner, IRL, passed the PM's party in popularity ratings for the first time in years, with 22 percent backing.
The Center Party, which won in Tallinn and gained the most votes across the nation in the last elections, is backed by 29 percent, a figure which has remained unchanged for the last three months.
The Social Democrats scored 23 percent, improving on their pre-election 20 percent popularity.
The poll sampled the citizen vote, while the October 20 local elections were open to all residents.
In the local elections, the Center Party picked up 31.9 percent of the votes across the nation, improving by 0.4 percent compared to four years ago. IRL won 17.2 percent, a significant improvement on the 13.9 percent they picked up in 2009.
The Reform Party dropped 3 percent to 13.7 percent, while the Social Democrats built on their 2009 results by 5 percent, to 12.5 percent.