While most of the world's attention focuses on electoral event across the Atlantic, pollsters Norstat have nonetheless released their latest weekly survey of party support in Estonia – which this week shows opposition party the Social Democrats (SDE) weakening, while non-parliamentary party Estonia 200 has picked up support.
The larger of the two opposition parties, Reform, obtained 32 percent of the poll, conducted by Norstat on behalf of think tank the Institute for Social Research (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), with Center, the largest of the three coalition parties, getting 22.1 percent, and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) seeing 17 percent support.
Overall, the three coalition parties – Center, EKRE and Isamaa, received 44.5 percent support, and the two opposition parties, Reform and SDE, got 40.4 percent.
Estonia 200 was next among individual parties, with 9 percent, SDE took 8.4 percent and Isamaa 5.4 percent – meaning it is above the 5 percent electoral threshold required to get Riigikogu seats under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation, whereas a few weeks ago it had dipped below this level.
Of trends, a fall in SDE support – which was nearly 10 percent two weeks ago – and an increase for Estonia 200 which has put it back ahead of SDE.
Norstat researcher Martin Mölder says that SDE support has fallen in recent weeks with women, and also with ethnic non-Estonians.
"Whereas from the start of this year [SDE's] support among non-Estonian voters has been clearly higher, the majority of the time, than among Estonian voters, now this support has leveled off," Mölder said.
At the same time, their support among women has dropped to the same level as most of the summer and There has been a lot of fluctuation among Estonians, so it is too early to say whether this is a starting trend or not," said Mölder.
Mölder pointed also to a clear stance SDE has taken on the proposed referendum on the definition of marriage, unlike most other parties.
The party formally declared its support for same-sex marriage at the weekend.
"In the ongoing marriage referendum campaign, SDE, unlike many other opposition or coalition parties, have taken a very clear position, which is also likely to affect their support or its structure," he said.
"A position strongly in support of same-sex marriage will not help their support among parents and non-Estonian voters, as well as among such voters who have many children," Mölder continued, adding that this will nonetheless help with support among the younger, highly-educated-but-with-no-children demographic. SDE may also have poached some support from Reform Party supporters also, he said.
Norstat claims a margin of error of +/1 1.55 percent and samples over 4,000 people in its surveys, it says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte