Party ratings: No real change, rate of Reform support loss slowing

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A Riigikogu sitting. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Reform remain the most-supported political party in Estonia according to a recent survey. In ratings which have changed little since the preceding week, the pollsters say, Center, in office with Reform, remain in second place, with opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in third as before.

While both Reform and Center have been losing support, this has mainly led to a rise in the number of undecided voters, Norstat says.

The poll, conducted by Norstat on behalf of conservative think-tank the Institute for Social Research  (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute instituut), found 31.1 percent of respondents plumping for Reform, who have been in office with Center since January. Center and EKRE were almost neck-and-neck, at 19.9 percent and 18.3 percent respectively, while Eesti 200, around new year briefly ahead of EKRE, were fourth with 13.3 percent (a slight rise on recent weeks). Eesti 200 currently has no Riigikogu seats. The other two opposition parties, the Social Democrats (SDE) and Isamaa picked up 7.1 percent and 5.6 percent of support respectively.

No party significantly gained or lost support over the past week since Norstat conducted its last survey, with all changes below the one percentage point-mark. Reform had been losing support over the previous seven consecutive weeks, Norstat says, adding this trend seems to have slowed almost to a halt.

The two coalition parties garnered 52 percent of support between them, while the three opposition parties picked up 31 percent, Norstat says.

Researcher Martin Mölder said of the latest figures that the most prominent trend in the ratings landscape since the beginning of March has been the steady decline in the support of the Reform Party, which has declined from about 35.5 percent, to 32 percent.

Mölder said: "Part of this decline is likely to be explained by the recent movement of supporters of the Reform Party back to the unpledged voters' group."

Other demographic changes, particularly since January's change in government, include those: "Among male voters, for example, where we see a recent situation where EKRE and the Reform Party are competing for the first place, followed by a plot of empty land and only after that the next competing duet – the Center Party and Eesti 200. The support structure has also changed very recently, for example among the lowest income voters," Mölder said, adding this was traditional Center territory.

"This has been a segment of the electorate where the Center Party had had a mountainous lead. At the moment, we can see that among those earning up to €500 per month (the current average monthly wage in Estonia is nearly three times that – ed.), support between the three largest parties has practically equalized. EKRE has greatly improved its position there, while the Center Party has clearly lost support," Mölder went on.

Being in office with Center has accentuated this, he said, though this has led more than anything to a larger proportion of undecided people in the electorate. The trend of a fall away from Reform, however, will likely stabilize in the coming weeks and months, until it reaches the level it was just after the March 2019 election (around the 30 percent-mark – ed.), Mölder went on.

The next elections are to the local municipalities, on October 17.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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