Norstat ratings: Reform slumps to third place behind EKRE and Center
The Reform Party has fallen to third place in support ratings, according to one recent poll, and now lies behind both the Center Party and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).
The survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), put Reform and Center together on 43.3 percent support among respondents, compared with 39.8 percent for the three opposition parties – EKRE, Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE).
EKRE polled 23.7 percent in the Norstat poll, followed by Center on 21.7 percent, and Reform on 21.6 percent.
Center's support has risen, by 1.3 percentage points over the past week – Norstat conducts its poll on a weekly basis – to the highest level it has seen this year, while Reform's has fallen to its lowest since early 2019, and before the last Riigikogu election, Norstat says.
The non-parliamentary Eesti 200 finished fourth, with 14.2 percent of support, followed by SDE (8.3 percent) and Isamaa (7.8 percent), BNS reports.
University of Tartu researcher Martin Mölder said of the results that: "The support for EKRE, which ranks in top place, seems to have stabilized somewhere below the 25-percent mark, while the difference between the Center Party and the Reform Party is only slightly in favor of the former."
"However, in light of general trends, it must be acknowledged that Reform is clearly in a weaker position, while Center is once again making its foothold stronger. However, mainly among the voter group of non-ethnic Estonians," Molder said.
The dynamics of the support for the Reform Party obviously reflects a more general frustration and dissatisfaction with the activities of the party since it entered government in January, and in relation to the coronavirus in particular.
"It can be seen that in the eyes of many voters, the hopes placed on the party during their opposition period since 2016, and especially after the 2019 elections, have not been realized with assuming the role of the prime minister's party," Mölder said.
"Considering the level of support for Kaja Kallas, the leader of the Reform Party, as prime minister, the party is currently in a rather difficult position and needs level-headed leadership and unequivocal working victories in order to get out of the current slump and without too much damage," he went on.
Among the other parties, Mölder said there was nothing particularly to report – Eesti 200's recent spurt is unlikely to play out in the longer-term, he said, and extrapolating from results either side of the October 17 local elections, its support may well fall in the near future.
The next elections are to the Riigikogu, in March 2023.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte