Center and Reform neck and neck in March party ratings ({{commentsTotal}})

Chairman of the Reform Party Hanno Pevkur (left), prime minister and chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas. Source: (ERR)

BNS and Postimees’ most recent party ratings show the ruling Center Party and the opposition Reform Party neck and neck, with the former in the lead by 0.3 percent. Of the other members of the coalition, the Social Democrats came in at 14.5 percent, and IRL at 6.3 percent.

According to the survey carried out by Kantar Emor, 26.5 percent of Estonian voters support the Center Party, 26.2 percent support the Reform Party, 14.5 percent the Social Democrats (SDE), 14.1 percent the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), 9.6 percent the Free Party, and 6.3 percent the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL).

The rest of the parties were below the five-percent election threshold.

Compared to February, the rating of Reform improved by 1.4 percent, and the rating of EKRE by 0.9 percent. The rating of the Free Party remained the same. SDE, IRL, and Center all lost ground. The Social Democrats’ rating declined by 1 percent, that of IRL by 0.8 percent, and that of Center by 0.1 percent.

Respondents who said they couldn’t say who they would support amounted to 26.5 percent, 5.8 percent more than in February.

The combined rating of the three parties of the ruling coalition, or Center, SDE and IRL, was 47.3 percent combined in March, 1.9 percent lower than in February.

Kantar Emor interviewed 884 voting-age citizens of 18 to 74 years of age in their homes and over the Internet for the survey between March 3 and 13.

Reform top preference only of younger voters

The Reform Party is the most popular party in Estonia only for voters up to 35 years of age, the survey showed.

Of respondents up to 35 years old, 28.4 percent would vote Reform, 19 percent for SDE, 18.2 percent for Center, 11.4 percent for the Free Party, 10.5 percent for IRL, and 9.2 percent for EKRE if elections were to be held tomorrow.

Among voters between 35 and 50 years old, the most popular party was Center, with a rating of 29.2 percent, followed by Reform with 25.4 percent, EKRE with 16.4 percent, SDE with 12.2 percent, and the Free Party with 11.2 percent.

Among voters aged 50 and above, Center was in the lead at 30.1 percent, followed by Reform at 25.3 percent, EKRE at 15.8 percent, SDE at 13 percent, the Free Party at 7.3 percent, and IRL at 5.6 percent.

Center remains in the lead in Tallinn

The Center Party continued to be the most popular party with voters in the Estonian capital, the survey showed, where it has the support of 35.2 percent of respondents.

Reform came in second here as well, at 25.2 percent, followed by SDE at 13.2, EKRE at 10.2, IRL at 7, and the Free Party at 5.5 percent.

Prime minister: Voters approve of Center Party’s work

The Center Party’s consistently high ratings demonstrated people’s trust in the politics of the government, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said commenting on the outcome of the survey.

“During the period of just over a hundred days, we have managed to carry out many important and also complex decisions,” Ratas said, adding that the ratings were a clear “Yes” to the government’s work.

Ratas also sees the increase in the ratings of his party both among Russian as well as Estonian speakers as a significant development. “We’ve managed to address all communities, and this is very important. I sincerely thank our supporters,” the prime minister said.

Reform Party chairman: Row in the government just a matter of time

Commenting on the decline in the ratings of the coalition parties, Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur said that their honeymoon was over, and that rows between the coalition parties were just a matter of time.

“The Academy of Security Sciences is just the first example. If we add to this the wish of the government to go back to the past and do away with e-elections, its plan to change the language and citizenship policy, their yearning for bans and orders, and their massive substitute actions, the result is a decline in the ratings of all the coalition parties,” Pevkur told BNS.

After a joint work group of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior could not reach an agreement over the proposed move of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Narva, the government will now have to discuss and decide.

Pevkur’s reference to “doing away with e-elections” hints to the government’s recent announcements that they were going to review the length of the period during which electronic voting is possible leading up to an election. Despite Pevkur’s repeated statements to the contrary, the government is not actually considering abolishing the electronic vote.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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