A slump in support ratings for the Reform Party has continued to deepen, according to one recent survey, and the party is now in third place nationally behind the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the Center Party.
The latest weekly poll, conducted by Norstat on behalf of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), find that the two coalition partners, Reform and Center, together poll at 42.6 percent, only a little over 2 percentage points ahead of the three opposition parties – EKRE, Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE) – which together picked up 40.3 percent of support.
By party, EKRE polled highest, according to Norstat, last week, at 23.9 percent, followed by Center on 21.7 percent and Reform on 20.9 percent.
This ranking is unchanged on the previous week, though the gap between Reform and EKRE has continued to widen, to 3 percentage points – the widest margin since early 2019.
In March, support for Reform stood as high as 35.5 percent according to Norstat, but has been in freefall since then, declining by 14.6 percentage points to the present.
The top three parties are followed by the non-parliamentary Estonia 200 at 14.4 percent support, SDE on 8.6 percent and Isamaa on 7.8 percent.
Eesti 200's support has continued on an upward trajectory after winning its first ever seats (the party was founded in 2018) at October's local elections, and has risen in support by 2.5 percentage points in the past five weeks, Norstat says.
University of Tartu political scientist Martin Mölder said the latest results represent a continuation of recent trends.
He said: "The increase in support for Eesti 200 following the local elections has slowed, while their aggregate average for four weeks did not increase significantly compared to the previous week. Support for SDE and Isamaa has been fairly stable since the local elections."
The "Kaja Kallas effect" also seems to have run its course, Mölder added, referring to a postulated phenomenon where the Reform leader and prime minister proved popular with women voters, presumably being seen as some sort of role model or ideal.
"While after the Kaja Kallas government took office, the support of the Reform Party among women rose almost ten percentage points higher than it was among men, as of now this gap has narrowed to what it had been prior to the formation of the new government," Mölder said.
Reform took office with Center in late January this year.
The political landscape in general looks very different in a breakdown by gender with some of the other parties too, Mölder added – for instance EKRE picked up 32 percent support among men voters compared with 20 percent for Reform.
Center is now most popular with women voters, he added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte