Only four percentage points cover the support of four parties in Estonia in November, according to the combined, aggregated ratings of three market research firms.
The Reform Party, in coalition with Center, polled at 21 percent across the three companies' results – Norstat, Turu-uuringute and Kantar Emor. Center picked up 18 percent, while the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) was ahead of it and level with Reform, at 21 percent.
Meanwhile the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 polled at 17 percent.
Since Reform's support has been falling according to all three pollsters over recent months, it can be deduced that Eesti 200 has been the main beneficiary of this, ERR reports (Reform and Eesti 200 are roughly similar in worldview, particularly on social issues, and their supporters are likely to be mostly similar – young professionals in Tallinn and Tartu and their prosperous commuter belts being one key demographic – ed.).
This is also backed up by the results of some of the surveys – many Reform voters pick Eesti 200 as their backup option, and vice versa, ERR reports.
The aggregated support ratings see Reform declining from 29 percent in April, stabilizing at 26 percent through summer, then down to 24 percent last month and 21 percent most recently – the largest change for any party over that time-frame.
EKRE's support has also fallen, albeit slightly – from 23 percent in September and October, to 21 percent, while Center's has fluctuated; in September it stood at 17 percent, in October, 19 percent and now 18 percent this month.
Eesti 200's support has risen across the aggregated reseults from 14 percent in October to 17 percent now – likely in part due to its strong showing in the October local elections, the first elections where the party won seats, being a case of success breeding success.
The graph below shows the summary of the latest ratings with (Kantar) Emor, Turu-uuringute, Norstat and combined (Koondkeskmine). Keskerakond is the Center Party; SDE the Social Democrats, and Rohelised, the Greens.
The smallest party by support, TULE, formed last year by a merger of the former Free Party and Richness of Life, polls at below 1 percent at the moment.
SDE and Isamaa, both in opposition, have both seen a recent rise in support.
SDE is now in coalition with Center on Tallinn City Government.
Isamaa's rating in particular has rallied, since in summer it was barely above the 5 percent-level, a significant level since 5 percent is the proportion of votes required to gain a seat in a given constituency under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation in the three types of direct election – Riigikogu, local and European Parliament (Estonia is treated as one constituency in the last of these).
The bar chart below represents the aggregated results for the various parties over the past three months - September (light blue), October (royal blue or thereabouts) and November (dark blue).
A margin of error of around 3 percent is expected across the aggregation of the three firms' results. The companies also employ differing methodologies; Norstat is primarily over-the-phone but also has an online option, Turu-uuringute is around a 50-50 split between those two methods, and Kantar Emor is online-only.
In the latter case, claims have been made that this skews the results potentially in that older demographics supposedly do not have access to the internet.
The three firms also would have different upper age limits of those they poll; Center has traditionally drawn significant amounts of support from older people.
The pandemic has spelled the end of face-to-face polling up to the present moment.
Norstat conducts its weekly polls on behalf of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), a conservative think-tank, while ERR commissions Turu-uuringute to conduct ratings polls.
All three market research firms would poll only Estonian citizens in their surveys, which makes the results most relevant to Riigikogu elections. All EU citizens resident in Estonia can vote in European elections, while all permanent residents in Estonia, regardless of country of origin, can vote in the local elections, such as those which took place on October 17.
The actual practice of aggregating results across companies is common in other democratic countries, ERR reports.
The next elections are to the Riigikogu, in March 2023.
Editor: Andrew Whyte