Ratings: Social Democrats support at two-year low

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SDE members Helmen Kütt (standing), Riina Sikkut and Jevgeni Ossinovski during the Riigikogu deputy speaker elections. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

While the government-leading Reform Party continues to sit atop the party ratings competition in Estonia, the Social Democratic Party has seen its support drop to their lowest level in two years, according to a survey conducted by pollster Norstat.

Norstat's latest results, in a survey conducted regularly for the Institute for Social Research (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), shows the prime minister's party Reform as having gathered 31.9 percent support, followed by coalition member Center Party with 20.5 percent and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) coming in third with 17.9 percent support of voting-age respondents.

The first three are followed by non-parliamentary party Eesti 200 with 14.1 percent, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) at 6.4 percent and Isamaa at 5.8 percent. Eesti 200 has seen its support drop by 2.4 percent since the start of the year, which is mainly attributed to the sudden change in government in January.

SDE has lost support considerably in the past weeks, dropping to its lowest level since the start of 2019, as far back as Norstat's results go.

The coalition parties (Reform-Center) are supported by 52.4 percent of respondents and opposition parties (EKRE-SDE-Isamaa) by 30.1 percent.

According to University of Tartu political researcher Martin Mölder, the short-term winners and losers of the government change have now become clear. After the government of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) took office, Reform and EKRE have seen a bump in support with Eesti 200 and SDE losing a part of theirs.

"For the latter two, it seems that once the ideological antipode EKRE fell out of the coalition, their support also suffered, it was built up mainly on being opposed to the government," Mölder noted.

"Gaining support as a result of being opposed to the previous government could also be noted for Reform, but their support has risen. It is explained by other mechanisms. We see that Reform's support has mostly grown among women. The gap in support for Reform between men and women is at a record-breaking level. Gender differences have previously been indistinguishable for Reform's support, today the gap stands at 8 percentage points - it has not been this high in the last two years," Mölder noted.

"Considering the differences in support among men and women for all parties, there is now a situation where the support for EKRE and Reform among men is statistically indistinguishable. Reform still holds a 3 percent lead among men, but there is no certainty which is actually the most popular party in Estonia among men," the political scientist added.

Support for SDE has dropped to a record low with their support dropping remarkably among men in particular - the party has gone below the electoral threshold of 5 percent in that group.

"The support for Social Democrats is below the electoral threshold among people aged 50 and above and among voters with a very high income, meaning more than €2,000. Their support is on the threshold among voters with children. They only clear the threshold comfortably among voters without children," Mölder concluded.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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