The opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has continued to pull ahead of the coalition Reform Party in terms of its support ratings, according to a recent survey. The coalition Center Party is also gaining ground on its partner-in-office, the survey found.
A total of 42.4 per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), support the two coalition parties, Reform and Center, combined, while only slightly fewer, 41 per cent, gave their backing to the three opposition parties together – the Social Democratic Party (SDE), Isamaa and EKRE.
The latest Norstat rating for the coalition is the lowest support the current administration has had since entering office in late January.
EKRE remains most-supported party according to the poll, which bases its ratings on a Riigikogu election, rather than either local or European elections.
EKRE picked up 24.5 percent of support, compared with 22 percent for the prime minister's party, Reform, and 20.5 percent for the Center Party.
Reform's support saw the biggest change over the past week, falling by 1.2 percentage points, Norstat says – its lowest level since the start of 2019 and before the last Riigikogu elections. At the same time, EKRE's support is at its highest level so far.
Center is 1.6 percentage points behind Reform – the narrowest gap since February 2019.
Of the remainder, the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 stays in fourth place with 13.8 percent support, SDE is on 8.3 percent and Isamaa, seeing its highest rating since August 2019, lies in sixth place with 8.2 percent support.
University of Tartu researcher Martin Mölder says that the recent figures show a stabilization for EKRE at somewhere round the 25-percent mark, but a continuing fall for Reform, which has been hovering at just over 20 percent in the last couple of weeks, compared with 22-23 percent a couple of weeks prior to that.
"[Reform] has not avoided a continued decline in its aggregate average of these four weeks, and at present it seems that a further decline in support is more likely than a reversal of the downward trend," Mölder said, adding that Reform has lost support in all societal sectors and is closer now to Center than to EKRE. "And as the support of the Center Party seems to be slowly but steadily recovering, it can be assumed that the gap between the Center Party and the Reform Party will narrow further," Mölder went on.
Eesti 200 saw a slight boost with its performance at the October 17 local elections, the first election where it won seats, but it, along with SDE and Isamaa, have not seen any major changes this week, though the continuing growth in support for Isamaa represents the first time since the last Riigikogu elections took place, Mölder said.
The next general election is in March 2023.
Editor: Andrew Whyte