The Center Party is enjoying its highest level of popular support since the 2019 general election, according to a recent survey. The gap between it and the Reform Party, which still tops the polls, remains the same however. The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is conversely experiencing its lowest level of support since the election.
Reform remained the most popular party among respondents, according to the survey, conducted by pollsters Turu-uuringute on behalf of ERR. The largest opposition party also saw its support rise, from 27 percent in April to 30 percent in May, according to Turu-uuringute.
The gap between it and Center remains the same at 3 percentage points, since Center's support also rose between April and May, from 24 percent to 27 percent.
This was the party's best support rating since the March 3 Riigikogu elections where it garnered 23 percent of the vote, and could be taken as vindication of sorts of the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), the second-largest coalition party by seats, saw its support going in the other direction, according to the Turu-uuringute polls, falling from 20 percent in March to 15 percent in May, via 17 percent in April. This is also the lowest reported support level for EKRE since the general election, when it received 18 percent of the vote.
Non-parliamentary party Estonia 200, opposition party the Social Democrats (SDE) and coalition party Isamaa saw roughly equal levels of party support in the Turu-uuringute survey, at eight, seven and six percent respectively.
Estonia 200 lost the most, however; its support stood at 12 percent in March and 11 percent in April. Nonetheless, were the ratings to translate into electoral votes, the party would gain seats in being above the 5 percent threshold required under Estonia's d'Hondt proportional representation system. In the event, the party narrowly missed out on seats in the general election, polling at just under 5 percent.
The three coalition parties together saw 48 percent of support compared with 37 percent for the two opposition parties. Non-parliamentary parties (the Green Party, Richness of Life and the Free Party, in addition to Estonia 200) together got 13 percent of the support.
Center improved since March 2019, Reform dipped then recovered
The longer term trend since the March 2019 election was for a rise in support for Reform and decline for center, until last fall, when the trend began to reverse.
In the first four-and-a-half months of 2020, naturally an idiosyncratic period of time due to the pandemic, support levels initially equalled out, before Reform picked up a small lead, which has remained through April and May (See above).
Of the remainder, Isamaa has seen the largest decline, from 12 percent in March 2019 to half that at present.
SDE has dropped from 10 percent to 7 percent over the same period.
Estonia 200's has increased significantly since the election, though this faltered more recently as noted.
Support for the non-parliamentary parties, other than Estonia 200, remains largely unchanged. The Estonian Greens are on 2 percent, Richness of Life on 1 percent and the Free Party – which held half a dozen seats int eh previous Riigikogu composition – picked up less than one percent support.
Turu-uuringute AS conducted its survey from May 7-15, polling 1,004 respondents. The coronavirus outbreak meant face-to-face polling was out of the question; 70 percent of questionnaires (706 respondents) were compiled online and 30 percent (298 respondents) over the phone.
Editor: Andrew Whyte