Party ratings: EKRE support at record high as Reform's falls

EKRE leader Martin Helme at a party convention.
EKRE leader Martin Helme at a party convention. Source: Meelis Meilbaum

Support for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has continued to rise, reaching a record level over the past week, according to one survey. The coalition Reform Party's support has moved in the opposite direction, the survey finds.

A total of 44.8 percent of respondents to a questionnaire conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of conservative think-tank the Institute for Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) say pledged their support for one of the three coalition parties (Reform, Isamaa and SDE), while 42 percent picked one of the two opposition parties, EKRE and Center, with the remainder either choosing a non-parliamentary party or being undecided.

By party, Reform polled at 30 percent, 4.3 percentage points ahead of EKRE, with 25.7 percent – the party's highest level of support since Norstat started conducting its weekly surveys in their current format.

Center polled at 16.3 percent.

Reform's support had fallen by another percentage point over the past week, and has fallen by 4.5 percent over the preceding five weeks, while EKRE's has risen by 6.5 percentage points since late July, Norstat says.

The "top" three parties are followed by the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 on 9.5 percent of support, the Social Democrats (SDE) on 7.7 percent and Isamaa (7.1 percent).

University of Tartu researcher Martin Mölder told daily Postimees (link in Estonian) that in absolute terms, Reform has lost significant support, while EKRE has gained it, though in relative terms, the situation is slightly different.

Mölder said: " 'The squirrels' (Reform's nickname, deriving from the party logo – ed.) are rapidly approaching the low point they were at last autumn, though their relative support is currently still significantly higher, primarily because the share of undecided voters has also increased significantly.

"As a result, EKRE is also currently at the peak of its relative support, although last fall they had more supporters in absolute numbers," said Mölder.

"If these results were translated to the Riigikogu elections, it could be assumed that the Reform Party would get 34 seats, EKRE 28 seats, the Center Party 17 seats, Estonia 200 nine seats, SDE seven and Isamaa six," Mölder added.

This would mean Reform's representation was unchanged, while it was Center who had seen the largest drop, from the current 26 seats; EKRE's current representation is 19 seats, Isamaa has 12 and SDE 10, while Eesti 200 has yet to win any Riigikogu seats, having been constituted as a party just months before the last general election in 2019.

Of the other currently unrepresented political parties, the Estonian Greens polled at 1.6 percent, unchanged on the previous week, while the newest party to have emerged ahead of next spring's general election, the Parempoolsed, picked up 1.1 percent, also the same as the previous week.

A minimum of 5 percent of the vote in a given constituency is needed to gain seats under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation.

The graph below shows the relative support levels of the major parties in Estonia, since early 2019, according to Norstat (key: Yellow = Reform, green 0 Center Party, black = EKRE, red = SDE, light blue = Eesti 200, royal blue = Isamaa, light green = Estonian Greens).

The latest Norstat results are aggregated over a four-week period and reflect the survey time from August 27 to September 26, and polled 4,006 Estonian citizens of voting age.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Norstat

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