Survey: 60 percent dissatisfied with government handling of pandemic

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Ülemiste Keskus shopping mall in Tallinn, on Monday morning, following the lifting of restrictions which had kept most businesses closed since late March. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Sixty percent of Estonian citizens find the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic below par, while 73 percent believe stricter restrictions are needed, according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted earlier this week by pollsters Norstat on behalf of conservative think-tank the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues  (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), came after details of the latest round of restrictions, approved by the government Friday, were public knowledge, and is, Norstat says, the first time more than half the populace have expressed dissatisfaction with the government, either in the current Reform/Center incarnation, or its predecessor, also consisting of Center, along with Isamaa and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Only one party represented at the Riigikogu, the Social Democratic Party (SDE), has not been in office since the pandemic began, while the post of health minister has been held by Tanel Kiik (Center) throughout.

Estonia now has reportedly the second-highest 14-day COVID-19 rate per 100,000 inhabitants, though deaths as a proportion of reported cases remain relatively small and largely confined to the elderly.

Sixty-percent of respondents said they were either "not satisfied at all" or "rather dissatisfied" with the current government's approach to the pandemic – this week's restrictions see theaters, cinemas and concerts halls closed and restaurants closed to in-house customers at weekends – while 36 percent said they were "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied", and four percent were don't-knows.

Earlier polls taken in February, December 2020 and April 2020 saw the "not satisfied" proportion Norstat reported stand at 47 percent, 50 percent and 23 percent respectively.

The 73 percent who answered "yes" to the question of whether restrictions should be tightened cover both those who said they certainly should, and those who tended towards favouring stricter rules, while 23 percent said no stricter measures should be installed at this time (again, 4 percent said they did not know).

Norstat conducted its survey online, on March 4 and 5, and polled 500 Estonian citizens of voting age. Norstat claims a ±4.4 percent error margin in the survey.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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