Center Party Makes Huge Leap in Local Elections Poll
A popularity poll released on Saturday indicates the Center Party continues to hold an expected lead ahead of the upcoming local elections.
Conducted by TNS Emor and commissioned by ERR, the poll is separate from the survey findings released on Friday, which focused on party support on the parliamentary level.
Of the respondents, 35 percent said they would vote for the Center Party, a 6 percent increase since July. The Social Democrats were supported by 15 percent, up 5 percent.
The coalition duo, Reform Party and IRL, were backed by 13 and 8 percent - the first remained the same and second dropped two points. Smaller parties all saw slight increases, while support for local election coalitions decreased minimally, to 10 percent.
The Center Party's and the Social Democrats' gains seem to have been made at the expense of independent candidates, whose total popularity fell from 24 to 15 percent.
Aivar Voog, an expert at Emor, told ETV on Saturday that expected voter turnout rates among Russian speakers has grown to the levels of ethnic Estonians, which has pushed up the Center Party's popularity.
University of Tartu professor Vello Pettai said a number of events have taken place in the summer, such as the visit of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, that have increased political presence.
If the local elections on October 20 reflected the poll results, the Center Party would reconfirm its majority in the Tallinn City Council, as 50 percent of Tallinn residents would vote for Mayor Edgar Savisaar's party, up from 46 percent a month ago.
Voog said that the question now is the extent of their majority, adding that the falling popularity of independent candidates is due to a lack of well-known names in the run for local office.