The Reform Party widened the gap between it and its new coalition partner, Center, while the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) re-took third place ahead of Eesti 200, up-to-date aggregate support ratings from three major firms reveal.
Taken across data through January from all three companies, Norstat, Turu-uugingute and Kantar Emor, support for the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Isamaa more-or-less equalized.
ERR's online news in Estonian began publishing aggregated support data from the three companies – at the latters' suggestion – last August, taking into account that the pollsters' results may differ by up to three percent, taking into account possible statistical error margins, as well as differences in how they gather data.
With that in mind, Reform remained the most popular party on 28 percent of support, compared with 26 percent a month earlier. Reform entered into office, with Kaja Kallas as prime minister, during that time.
Reform's new coalition partner Center saw a slight fall in support over the same period, from 21 percent to 20 percent, while for the other three parties represented at the Riigikogu, plus the non-parliamentary Eesti 200, support remained largely unchanged, according to the aggregated results.
January's ratings across all three pollsters' data and aggregated (Koondkesmine). Keskerakond = Center Party; Rohelised = Green Party.
The most significant change saw EKRE, now in opposition where it had been in office, overtake Eesti 200, now standing at 16 percent and 15 percent of support respectively.
SDE, in opposition both before and after the change in government and recently seeing the departure from politics of a popular Tallinn city councilor, saw its support fall by a percentage point a month, from 10 percent in November to its current 8 percent.
This brings SDE and Isamaa almost on an even footing – the latter, also in office with EKRE but now in opposition (Center remained in office despite the corruption scandal which led to Jüri Ratas' resignation principally affecting that party, so far as political parties went – ed.) - is now on 7 percent of support, a slight rise on the previous month.
The electoral threshold, i.e the proportion of votes a party must win to get any Riigikogu (or local government or European Parliament) seats at all, is 5 percent.
Aggregated results for November (lightest blue), December and January (dark blue) for all five Riigikogu parties, plus Eesti 200, Greens and TULE.
Of the remaining major political parties, the Estonian Greens, not currently represented at the Rigiikogu though they have been in the past, took 3 percent, while the TULE party, formed last year from a merger of Richness of Life and the Free Party – the latter had several seats at the XIII Riigikogu – saw 1 percent of support across all three pollsters' rankings.
Norstat reportedly makes use of phone surveys in its data collection, but also has an online component. Turu-uuringute has a 50/50 split between online and face-to-face interviews, while Kantar Emor's results are compiled online-only.
General criticisms of polling methods include those directed at face-to-face interviews, which, it is claimed, prompt some respondents to answer differently than they would if they answered questions anonymously online, and also the use of the latter as excluding those who are less tech-savvy, for instance, it is claimed, the elderly. This demographic in Estonia has traditionally been a major support source for the Center Party.
The use of aggregated poll results as a whole is common practice in many European countries, ERR reports.
Editor: Andrew Whyte