The proposed Cohabitation Act in parliament is opposed by 58 percent of Estonian inhabitants, a TNS Emor nationwide poll commissioned by ERR revealed.
Thirty-four percent of the 555 respondents were in favor and 8 percent replied "can't say."
The draft legislation stops short of permitting gay marriage but would, among other things, extend financial benefits to cohabiting partners of the same sex.
Responses varied most by age, ethnicity and political alignment.
A majority - 52 percent - of people under 35 support the legislation. But in the 35-50 age group - people who reached early adolescence and adulthood during the Soviet occupation - only 33 percent supported the act and 62 percent opposed it. In the over-50 age group, 20 percent were in favor and 70 percent were opposed.
Among ethnic Estonians, 40 percent supported the legislation compared to 52 percent against. Among other ethnicities, only 17 percent were in favor, with 77 percent against.
Support was also slightly higher than average among those with higher education (39 percent), higher income (40 percent) and among Tartu residents (44 percent).
The biggest gulf of all related to political alignment - only 16 percent of Center Party voters said they supported the bill. Yet 38 percent - more than the average for the population - of IRL supporters, a socially conservative party, came out in favor of the bill. That was only one percentage point lower than the 39 percent of Social Democrat supporters who favor the bill. Forty-four percent of Reform Party supporters were in favor of the bill.
The legislation passed the first reading in June and will be discussed again in the autumn.