Party ratings: EKRE retains lead over Reform, Center improves

Riigikogu Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has maintained its lead over the coalition Reform Party according to a recent poll, while Reform's governmental partner, Center, has started to improve in ratings, as has Isamaa.

The survey, conducted on a weekly basis by pollsters Norstat on behalf of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) , is the first to be announced since Sunday's local elections, though it focuses on Riigikogu parties.

The two coalition partners picked up 43.7 percent of support, while the three opposition parties – EKRE, Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE) polled at 41 percent.

By party, EKRE polled 24.8 percent (unchanged on last week), Reform 23.7 percent (down from 24.1 percent) and Center 20 percent (up from 19.3 percent).

The top three were followed by Eesti 200 at 11.9 percent (down rom 12.5 percent last week), SDE on 8.6 percent (down from 9 percent) and Isamaa at 7.6 percent (up from 6.8 percent). Isamaa's support is at its highest since August 2019, the polls say.

Political analyst Tõnis Mölder said that Isamaa's support had particularly risen among male voters and native speakers of Estonian.

"We can also see how the party's position in Tallinn districts improved dramatically before the election. This reflects their better-than-expected result in the local elections in the capital, and how they managed to mobilize their potential supporters at the last minute," Mölder said.

Otherwise, there were no big surprises at the local elections, where recent trends in support tended to be borne out, he said, with Center's support levels slowly but steadily rising with Norstat to 20 percent, its highest level since late June, while the party also did slightly better than expected (and was the highest-polling party overall) at the local elections.

The struggle between the two front numbers seems to have found a balance to the point where EKRE has a slight lead over the Reform Party, he added, while the "Kallas effect", named after the party's leader and prime minister, whose support was high after entering office in January, particularly among women voters, is starting to wane.

The parties' local election ratings nationwide were: Center 24.4 percent, Reform 17.3 percent, EKRE 13.2 percent, Isamaa 8.4 percent, Eesti 200 6.0 percent, SDE 5.0 percent. Only Center and Isamaa polled higher at the elections than in Norstat's poll, while most parties polled significantly lower on the day.

Caution should be exercised here though: As noted the Norstat poll is focused on the Riigikogu elections, which have far fewer electoral districts (12) than there are municipalities (79). Local politics in Estonia is notoriously fragmented and idiosyncratic to a specific locale, while local electoral alliances polled highest in most constituencies, particularly in smaller population centers.

These alliances focus on location-specific politics and provide an alternative to the mainstream parties, meaning they also take away votes from those parties.

The major parties tended to focus on larger population centers, key battlegrounds like Narva, Viljandi, Kohtla-Järve and Pärnu, as well as Tallinn, the Tallinn commuter belt, and Tartu.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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