The Reform Party remains most popular among respondents of a recent survey, while the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has reclaimed third place.
Reform, which officially entered office in coalition with the Center Party, picked up 30.1 percent of support, while its coalition partner took 21.4 percent and remains in second place, according to the research, commissioned by NGO the Institute for Social Research (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) and conducted by pollsters Norstat.
EKRE took 16.2 percent, placing it in third place. In recent weeks the party, now in opposition, had lost ground to non-parliamentary party Eesti 200 and been in fourth place, according to Norstat.
Reform's support rose by one percentage point and broke the 30 percent mark, after dipping below it around the new year (see graph below).
Eesti 200 lies in fourth place among Norstat respondents on 15 percent, and two opposition parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Isamaa – until recently in office – were on 7.6 percent and 5.6 percent respectively.
Eesti 200's support has fallen by 1.5 percentage points in the past three weeks, Norstat says.
Current coalition enjoys much larger support gap over opposition than predecessor
A total of 51.5 percent of respondents supported the two coalition parties, while 29.4 percent chose the three opposition parties between them. Prior to the change in government, the gap was much closer at 42.5 percent support for the-then tripartite coalition (Center/EKRE/Isamaa) and 36.6 percent for Reform, then in opposition, and SDE – then and now in opposition – combined.
Researcher Martin Mölder said that following relative stagnation in the change of support at the end of last year, and the beginning of this year, ratings seem to have started moving again.
Mölder said: "Support for the Reform Party has been slowly growing over the past two weeks, while at the same time Eesti 200's has fallen to 15 percent. EKRE's rating has been rising since mid-December and has risen again to over 16 percent. The [trend for} slow but steady growth in support has stopped. However, the trend in support for SDE, which had been declining over a long period, seems to be continuing."
Most notably, EKRE's support among the Russian-speaking respondents had grown to 10 percent, Mölder said. EKRE is a nationalist-conservative party more closely identified with native Estonian speakers, but the change suggested competition from EKRE for this demographic, traditionally tending to vote more for the Center Party, Mölder noted.
Socially conservative Russian-speakers may find EKRE increasingly attractive, he added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte