Support for the Center Party fell last week, according to a recent survey, meaning the gap between it and Reform has begun to grow again, after narrowing in recent weeks.
The survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat, on behalf of NGO the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) found that 31 percent of citizens of voting age support the opposition Reform Party, compared with 24.8 percent for the coalition Center Party and 16.8 percent for the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), also in office.
Center's support according to the same survey fell 1.1 percentage points in the past week, while EKRE's remains stable, having seen a decline in the second half of May.
The top three are followed by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) with 8.1 per cent of support among respondents, the non-parliamentary Estonia 200 on 7.8 percent and coalition Isamaa on 5.2 percent – just above the 5 percent threshold required to get Riigikogu, local government or European Parliament seats under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation.
Commenting on Norstat's polls, political scientist Martin Mölder said this week's results represented no change on the previous week.
"If anything is worth mentioning, it is perhaps only that in the last two weeks, the support of the Reform Party has slightly increased, and the support of the Center Party has fallen slightly," he said.
"The fall in the support for Center Party is explained among other things by their declining rating among men and non-ethnic Estonian voters in recent weeks."
The three coalition parties together found 46.8 percent of support, the two opposition parties, 39.1 percent.
Mölder also noted a closer parity between men and women supporters of Center, compared with EKRE, whose support tends to be stronger among men voters, according to Norstat's data.
With Reform, no real gender disparity is noted either, but by other indicators, ethnicity, age, education and income do produce different support levels.
With SDE, support is uniform across ethnicities too, he said, and with Estonia 200 also having fairly even support across gender and ethnicity; Isamaa demonstrated relatively uniform support in terms of gender, education and income levels.
Differences in support between age exist, but are not very stable or systemic he said, other than in the matrix between age group and ethnicity.
Isamaa demonstrated among the most stable support across demographic groups even as its support has been declining, Mölder went on.
"Although support for Isamaa has been steadily falling, this is the party... that seems to have the most even footing in terms of socio-demographic categories."
In compiling their results, Norstat and the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues have aggregated the results of the past four weeks, with a little over 4,000 respondents polled. Norstat claims a margin of error of +/- 1.55 percent, and says its methodology smooths out fluctuations in individual surveys due to both greater statistical error and short-term events.
The presentation of a four-week aggregate results before the March 2019 general election gave the most accurate result of all the pre-election polls, differing from the actual results by a maximum of only 0.9 percent, Norstat says.
The Institute for the Study of Societal Issues is a conservative think tank founded in January 2016, which studies and analyzes social processes taking place in Estonian society.
Editor: Andrew Whyte