The gap in support for the opposition Reform Party is slowly continuing to widen over the coalition Center Party, according to a recent poll. Non-parliamentary party Estonia 200 has overtaken the Social Democratic Party (SDE) in support, according to the poll.
The Reform Party, the largest party at the Riigikogu with 34 seats, picked up 33.4 percent support in the survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of NGO the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) an increase of 1.1 percentage points on the previous week.
The largest coalition party, the Center Party, fell one percentage point on the previous week to 21.7 percent, and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), also in office, garnering 16.9 percent support.
Estonia 200 was next, with 8.6 percent, a rise of one percentage point, making it the fourth most-supported party by this company's figures, despite not having any Riigikogu seats, and overtaking the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) on 8.4 percent. Coalition Isamaa party was on 5.9 percent of support.
The three coalition parties, Center, EKRE and Isamaa, are supported by 44.5 percent of respondents, compared with 41.8 percent for coalition parties.
Researcher Martin Molder said that after a temporary standstill last week, it is possible to see once again how the gap between the Center Party and the Reform Party is growing. Thus, the trend which began at the end of May and in which the Center Party has lost support and the Reform Party has gained support is continuing and it can be said that the summer break in politics is still not affecting the prime minister's party well.
"By now, the difference between the two parties is 11.7 percent, which is about the same as it was during all of last fall. Rather, it has arisen from the momentary weakening of the position of the Center Party and less from the strengthening of the position of the Reform Party. At the end of last summer, the difference between the positions of these two parties was a few percentage points larger," Molder said.
According to him, however, it is significant at the moment that this trend of increasing the gap is quite clear and long-term. "By now, the scissors between them have been growing with small glitches, but they have nevertheless been growing for almost three months. If the peak of the Center Party's support at the beginning of April is considered as the beginning of the trend, it will be almost five months," Molder said. "Thus, on the threshold of a new political season, the position of the Center Party in the ratings is not to be commended."
Norstat claims a +/1 1.55 percent margin of error in its weekly surveys, which poll a little over 4,000 people of voting age, reflecting various socio-demographic groups.
Editor: Andrew Whyte