Survey: Eesti 200 would grow in support with Kersti Kaljulaid at helm
Support for the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 would rise by three percentage points should former president Kersti Kaljulaid join the party, according to one market research company.
The rise in support would come at the expense of the coalition Reform Party and the opposition Social Democrats (SDE), pollsters Kantar Emor say.
This month, Kantar Emor conducted an additional survey on top of its regular monthly poll of party support, in which, in addition to the name of the party, the name of the party's chair was included.
While Kersti Kaljulaid is not Eesti 200 leader, nor indeed is she in the party currently, her name was included as potential leader to examine the effect that this would have on the party's overall rating.
In the regular poll for March, Eesti 200 picked up 19 percent support.
However, in the additional poll with her name inserted as potential leader, this rose by 3 percentage points, to 22 percent.
The reverse happened with the Reform Party and its actual leader, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
Whereas in the regular poll Reform picked up 26 percent support, with Kallas name added this fell to 24 percent – though Reform remained most-supported party.
Aivar Voog, Kantar Emor expert, said that the presence of Kaljulaid's name boosted Eesti 200's support at the expense of that for Reform and SDE.
SDE's support dropped from almost eight per cent in the regular survey, to 6.5 per cent, once the name of its leader, Lauri Läänemets, was included.
Meanwhile, coalition party Center's support rose – from 18 percent in the regular poll to 20 percent in the supplementary survey - with the inclusion of Jüri Ratas' name. Ratas is both current leader and Riigikogu speaker.
Support for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) remained unchanged at 18 percent with or without the inclusion of Martin Helme, its current leader.
Isamaa's support level remained at 6 percent regardless of whether party leader Helir-Valdor Seeder's name was included or not.
Kantar Emor was commissioned by ERR to conduct its survey over the period March 10-16. 1,274 Estonian citizens were polled, half online and half over the phone.
Kersti Kaljulaid's possible joining of the Eesti 200 party has been the subject of much media speculation, not least when she mentioned in her valedictory speech at the Riigikogu, when leaving office in October last year that she would return to "this hall".
Moreover, two big hitters from her former presidential office, Tiit Riisalo and Taavi Linnamäe, have joined the party's campaign team ahead of the Riigikogu elections on March 5 next year.
Eesti 200 was founded in 2018 and narrowly missed out on Riigikogu seats at the March 2019 general election. It won its first seats at last October's local elections.
Kristina Kallas has been party leader since its inception.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte