The Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas has failed to fare well in a grading of his work by the Estonian public, floundering even amongst the Reform Party's own electorate.
Respondents across Estonia rated Rõivas' work with an average score of 2.58, equal to the skipping schoolboy grade of 2+ or 3- in the Estonian educational system. Even those who had voted for the Reform Party in the recent elections gave the PM a 3.5 average grade, according to a study commissioned by Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht.
Grading Rõivas' work on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good), the PM's score was highest among those who would currently elect the Reform Party (an average of 3.5) or IRL (3.01). Most critical of the PM's work were those living in northeastern Estonia (Ida-Virumaa), where the rating for Rõivas averaged at 1.91.
The Reform Party and IRL's potential electorate currently remain the only two groups grading the PM's work above grade 3 - a pass or "acceptable" in Estonia, whereas all other identifiable groups in the study averaged with a grade below 3.
In terms of age, Rõivas fared best among 18-24-year olds, as well as those aged 74 and over, but even those grades averaged at 2.8. Estonians graded Rõivas at 2.66, whereas respondents of other nationalities rated the PM's work as worthy of an average of 2.25.
A similar tendency of unpopularity was signalled by a second study by the Baltic market research company Turu-uuringute AS, according to which the perceived reliability of the PM amongst the population had decreased from 55-56 percent towards the end of last year and in March to a mere 39 percent in May.
According to research leader and sociologist Juhan Kivirähk, lukewarm ratings for PM's work should be seen in light of the generally struggling government.
"The PM is generally the one to come under fire in the government. He's seen as the one to carry the weight of the entire institution," he told Päevaleht.
The governing coalition has suffered from mounting criticism, both from left and right. Most of the disagreement from the voters and opinion leaders concerns the government's plan to raise excise taxes on fuel, which would affect most of the population. Another issues is the planned VAT rise on accommodation services.
Editor: A. Kaer