Ratings: Reform remains on top, EKRE endangering Center in Ida-Viru County

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Political scientist Martin Mölder says that EKRE can soon endanger Center's position in Ida-Viru County. Pictured are EKRE chairman Martin Helme (left) and Mart Helme. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

There have been no changes to the top three of party support rankings with Reform comfortably atop the mountain, but the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) could soon endanger Center Party's position in Ida-Viru County, the latest results of a survey conducted by pollster Norstat show.

Recent research Norstat conducted on behalf of conservative think-tank the Institute for Social Research (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute instituut) has Reform at 33.2 percent support, Center at 19.5 percent and EKRE at 18.9 of all voting-age respondents.

The first three are followed by non-parliamentary Eesti 200 with 12.4 percent support, a whole percentage point up from last week. The Social Democratic Party (SDE) is fifth at 6.7 support and Isamaa follows with 5.7 percent support.

The coalition parties (Reform-Center) received 52.7 of respondents' votes and the opposition parties (EKRE-SDE-Isamaa) stand at 31.3 percent.

Martin Mölder, a political analyst at the University of Tartu, said that while Reform is clearly atop the support rankings with Center and EKRE following, the regional differences are great.

"If we base it off the Riigikogu election districts, we see the following picture. Of the three districts in Tallinn, Reform is the clear leader in two and after Kaja Kallas' government took power, their support has grown significantly in Mustamäe and Nõmme - district number three - where their support nearly doubles that of second-place Center. In Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita -district number two - Reform's support has also grown some in recent weeks, but they hold a much shorter lead over Center there," Mölder said.

In the nine districts outside of Tallinn, Reform is dominant in just two. Their support is mountain-high in Harju and Rapla counties - district number four - and in the city of Tartu - district number 10.

"That is how the support for Reform in Tallinn and the rest of Estonia paints a picture of regional development inequalities. Reform's support mainly comes from more wealthy people and that is reflected in the regional support distribution. Where there is less wealth, in Lasnamäe in Tallinn or rural Estonian areas, they do not carry the same wide-scale coverage," Mölder said.

Following the change in government, Reform has also increased its support in Hiiu, Lääne and Saare counties - district number five - where the gap between them and second-place EKRE is more than 10 percent. A similar difference can also be noted in Lääne-Viru County - district number six - but they hold no such clear lead in any other districts.

"In Järva and Viljandi counties - district number eight - there is a very tight battle between the three large parties. In Jõgeva and Tartu counties - district number nine - Reform has significantly lost support since fall of last year and EKRE has been tight on their heels in second place. There is also a competition between EKRE and Reform in Võru, Valga and Põlva counties - district number 11 and in Pärnu County - district number 12," Mölder noted.

Ida-Viru County - district number seven - still belongs to Center, but Mölder said there are very interesting dynamics in play. "Center's support there has dropped since fall of 2019. In March, Center raised its support some but it has fallen again by the ongoing week. After the new government was formed, Reform gained support there momentarily, but it has once again fallen to the level it was at before they were in government. And it is very clear to see how EKRE's plan to build their organization from the ground up in Ida-Viru County has already borne fruit. Their support has gone from the electoral threshold (5 percent - ed) in the fall of last year to 25 percent now. If similar trends continue, we can see how EKRE will seriously endanger Center's position in Ida-Viru County," Mölder concluded.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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