Support for the Reform Party has risen by 6.4 percentage points over the past six weeks, a trend which continued over the past week, according to a recent survey. Meanwhile Reform's coalition partner, Center, continues to see one of its lowest ratings ever.
A total of 44 percent of respondents to the survey, conducted by conservative think-tank the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) backed the two coalition parties, Reform and Center, while 35.4 percent pledged their support to the three opposition parties, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE).
Reform picked up 27.7 percent support from among respondents, EKRE 21.5 percent and the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 polled at 18.3 percent.
Reform's support rose by 1.3 percentage points over the past week; the prime minister's party has seen a rise in support of 6.4 percentage points.
EKRE's support did not change significantly, and the party lies in second place, 6.2 percentage points behind Reform.
Eesti 200's lengthy upward trend towards a rise in support seems to have come to an end; the party, which won its first seats in the local elections last October, saw a 1.4-percentage point fall in support over the past fortnight, Norstat says.
Center is seeing its lowest level of support since Norstat began its surveys in their current format, in early 2019 and before the last general election.
The party polled at 16.3 percent, according to Norstat.
Theories as to Reform's success versus Center's fall generally come back to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started nearly a month ago.
Reform and its leader, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, in addition to being at the helm in any case, were seen to take the initiative from the beginning of the crisis, whereas Center has been dogged by a 2004 agreement the party signed with Russian leader Vladimir Putin's party, United Russia, a document Center says has now been annulled.
The bedrock of Center's support has traditionally been the Russian-speaking voting populace in Estonia, a demographic by no means of one opinion on Russia's war on Ukraine.
Center was followed by SDE (7.9 percent) in support, and Isamaa (6 percent).
The latter has also seen a fall in support over the past four weeks. The party had faced an internal power struggle, resulting in several dissident members being expelled last week.
Norstat aggregated its latest results over the four week period February 22 to March 18. Just over 4,000 Estonian citizens of voting age were surveyed, Norstat says.
The next elections are to the Riigikogu, on March 5 2023.
Editor: Andrew Whyte