December party ratings: Increased publicity boosts support for Center Party
Increased publicity led the Center Party to earn the highest ratings of the year at the beginning of December, while support for both the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the Free Party reached new lows for the year, the results of a nationwide poll commissioned by ERR’s online news portal and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS show.
The December poll was conducted from Nov. 22 through Dec. 5, during which period the Jüri Ratas-led government stepped into office, Tallinn’s suspended mayor and longtime Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar was formally charged with corruption and scandals surfaced surrounding then-newly-appointed Minister of Rural Affairs Martin Repinski.
The results of the poll revealed that the increased publicity, albeit largely negative, had a positive effect on Center Party ratings, giving them a solid lead at 32 percent, a three-percent increase on November and six-percent increase on October.
While the Reform Party suffered a sharp drop in popularity in November following the collapse of Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas' government, their support remained steady at 20 percent in December, reflecting only a one-percent drop since November.
Reform was followed by the Social Democratic Party (SDE), whose support increased by two percent to 15 percent in December, and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) and EKRE followed with a tied eight percent of support each, which in EKRE's case reflected a four-percent drop to its low for the year.
While IRL had the lowest ratings among the parliamentary parties for the first 11 months of the year, the title was passed on to the Free Party in December after the latter bottomed out for the year at six percent support. Six months prior, in comparison, the Free Party enjoyed the support of 12 percent of voters, however their popularity has steadily declined since then.
Among non-parliamentary parties, the Estonian Greens earned the support of one percent of voters.
The combined support of the new Center-SDE-IRL coalition totaled 51 percent in December, while the Reform-EKRE-IRL opposition enjoyed the support of a total of 34 percent of voters.