The coalition Center Party's campaign to seek a family benefits hike and in doing so set itself in contrast with partner Reform has done them no favors in terms of popular support. Instead, the Reform Party managed to continue pulling ahead, the regular poll commission by ERR and carried out by Kantar Emor reveals.
Recent results give the Reform Party 33 percent of the potential vote, with Center forced to settle for 16 percent or less than half of its coalition partner's showing. The coalition partners were tied on 20 percent as recently as in February.
May polling started on the day the rift in the government over family benefits hikes became apparent – May 12. The back and forth that followed fell entirely inside the polling period (until May 20).
"The results show that Center's activity did them no favors. Center is tied with the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and non-parliamentary Eesti 200 for second to fourth place," Kantar Emor survey expert Aivar Voog said.
The last time the Reform Party had a rating of 33 percent, putting it firmly in the lead in May, was in October 2020. Its rating was just 25 percent in April.
Support for Reform has mainly grown in the 50+ voter group that has traditionally formed the core of Center supporters," Voog explained.
EKRE rating sporting downward trend
Opposition leader EKRE managed 17 percent in May, down from 18 percent in April and 22 percent in January.
"While support for EKRE is largely unchanged from April, their rating sports a downward trend in the long run," Voog offered.
Support for non-parliamentary Eesti 200 has come down from 21 percent in April to 17 percent in May.
"Eesti 200 lost a fair bit of ground in May, mostly to the Reform Party," Voog said.
The Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Isamaa are tied for fifth and sixth place on 7 percent. Neither party has managed over 10 percent this year.
The Estonian Greens had the backing of 3 percent of respondents.
Support by voter group
Reform's lead is even greater when we look at sociodemographic indicators as support for the party among ethnic Estonians ballooned from 29 percent in April to 39 percent in May.
Estonian respondents also supported EKRE (19 percent) and Eesti 200 (16 percent).
The Center Party only had 8 percent Estonian supporters in May, falling short even of Isamaa (9 percent) and coming is slightly ahead of SDE (6 percent).
The Center Party was the first choice of non-ethnic Estonians on 46 percent, followed by Eesti 200 (19 percent), SDE and Reform (10 percent). Support for EKRE in the voter group was 8 percent, while that for Isamaa fell shy of 1 point.
The Reform Party was the first choice of both women (36 percent) and men (29 percent), with EKRE taking second place in the latter category (23 percent).
Share of voters without clear preference up
The Kantar Emor poll was conducted between May 12-20 among 1,461 eligible citizens between 18 and 84 years of age. Half of respondents were interviewed online and half over the phone. The "cannot say" answers have been removed from the results that makes Kantar Emor ratings comparable to Riigikogu elections.
The relative importance of "cannot say" answers grew to 30 percent in May, up from 28 percent in April and just 23 percent in January.
Editor: Marcus Turovski
Source: Kantar Emor