Ratings: Coronavirus handling may be behind Center losing ground to Reform

A Riigikogu sitting in progress.
A Riigikogu sitting in progress.

Recent ratings have put the opposition Reform Party ahead of the Center Party in Tallinn, traditionally a Center stronghold, whose city government is dominated by the party.

The poll, conducted by Turu-uuringute, found support for the Reform Party among respondents in Tallinn in September stood at 35 percent, compared with just 20 percent for Center. This was a virtual swapping of places on August, when Reform polled at 25 percent and Center at 29 percent.

The survey's parameters were more in the light of the makeup of the Riigikogu – whose next elections are in 2023 – rather than the local elections in October 2021, which has a larger electorate, so caution must be applied when looking for a pattern.

The government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with increasing public frustration about a lack of clear messages on travel, schools and universities, business and event restrictions – both at a national level and in Tallinn – are likely to have had an effect too.

Rest of Estonia

In the Turu-uuringtate poll, Center was most popular in its traditional stronghold of Ida-Viru County (where it polled at 49 percent) and in central Estonia (36 percent).

Reform was also in the lead in southern Estonia (28 percent of respondents picked the party first), which includes a traditional Reform city, Tartu.

The two parties were practically neck-and-neck in northern Estonia, with Center on 23 percent and Reform on 21 percent.

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), in office at a national level, retained its lead in its traditional heartland of western, particularly southwestern, Estonia, though at 27 percent its lead over Reform (23 percent) and Center (22 percent) was not substantial.

EKRE is the most popular party in Western Estonia (27 percent), but the lead over the Reform Party (23 percent) and the Center Party (22 percent) is not very large.

Breakdown by ethnicity

Among Estonian speakers, Reform remains most popular on 30 percent of support, compared with 19 percent for Center and 16 percent for EKRE. The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) saw 11 percent of support among respondents, non-parliamentary party Estonia 200 9 percent and coalition party Isamaa 5 percent.

Among voters of other ethnicities, in practise primarily referring to Russian-speakers, Center remained most popular on 51 percent, EKRE (12 percent), SDE (11 percent) and Reform (11 percent) were all much of a muchness and Estonia 200 polled at 7 percent. Isamaa picked up just 1 percent of support in this demographic.

Breakdown by age

  • Under 50 Reform: 30 percent, Center: 18 percent, SDE: 14 percent, EKRE: 12 percent.
  • 50-64 age group: Center: 25 percent, EKRE: 23 percent, Reform: 21 percent.
  • 65-74 age group: Center: 30 percent, Reform: 27 percent.
  • 75 and older: Center: 38 percent.

Breakdown by gender

Male respondents (22 percent) favored EKRE more than women respondents (10 percent); for Reform the situation was the reverse, with its supporters polling at 30 percent from among women and 23 percent from men.

Breakdown by education level

Those with higher education tended to support Reform more (30 percent) than EKRE (9 percent), with SDE polling higher among this demographic on 18 percent.

Reform and Center were even stevens among those with vocational or secondary level education at 26 percent and 25 percent respectively, and Center were most popular among those with basic education (30 percent).

Breakdown by income

The only discernible differences here are that Reform continue to be most popular among those earning over €1,000 net per month at 42 percent, with Center highest for those with a middling (€650-€1,000 net wage per month) or low (under €650 per month net) income at a little over 30 percent.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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