The gap in support between the coalition Reform Party and the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is continuing to narrow, according to a recent survey.
The research, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of Institute for Social Research (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut, returned 47.3 percent of respondents supporting the two coalition parties – Reform and Center – combined, however, compared with 36.6 percent for the three opposition parties, EKRE, Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE).
Reform picked up 28.2 percent of support among respondents to the survey, which Norstat conducts on a weekly basis and aggregates over a four-week period, with EKRE in second place on 23 percent, and Center on 19.1 percent.
The non-parliamentary Eesti 200 was next with 12.1 percent, followed by SDE on 7.9 percent and Isamaa on 5.7 percent.
Reform remains in first place, Norstat notes, at a level of support unchanged in the past fortnight, before which its support had shown somewhat of a fall. The gap between it and EKRE is now just over five percentage points, the narrowest it has been since the latter were formed in 2012 and its highest overall level since early 2019.
University of Tartu research Martin Mölder noted that: "The support of the Reform Party has remained the same since Midsummer's Day, but the support of EKRE has increased again, while the support for the Center Party has fallen.
"Support for SDE has flatlined at around 8 percent in recent weeks, while Isamaa's support has remained stable between 5 and 6 percent," he went on.
October sees the local elections held nationwide, and, Mölder noted, Reform has been losing support in some areas of the capital – where it competes with the Center Party – notably Mustamäe and Nõmme, where it was strongest in the last national elections, albeit to the Riigikogu, in March 2019.
Center is in office alone in Tallinn.
In the provinces, Mölder noted that: "As within different groups in society, the political landscape also varies greatly from region to region, and there are clear differences between 'urban' and 'rural' [areas]," noting that Reform and Center tend to do better in the first of these and EKRE more so in the latter.
Reform continues to be strong in its traditional heartland of Tartu city, Mölder noted, as well as Tartu County as a whole, along with Harju and Rapla counties, while Center, despite a decline in support in recent years, continues its healthy situation in Ida-Viru County.
Meanwhile, EKRE is clear leader in most of south Estonia – namely in Võru, Valga, Vilandi, Põlva and Järva counties.
Everywhere else sees a keen battle for first place, principally between Reform and EKRE, he said.
Norstat is one of three major market research firms conducting ratings for the support for Estonia's political parties, with the other two being Turu-uuringute and Kantar Emor.
Editor: Andrew Whyte