Support for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has fallen over the past month, according to a recent survey, and, since support for the other opposition party, Center, has been growing during that time, the gap between the two parties has diminished.
The research, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of the Institute for Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), found that 46.7 percent of respondents supported one of the three coalition parties – the Reform Party, Isamaa or the Social Democrats (SDE), while 39.4 percent pledged for either EKRE or Center.
In addition to making up the opposition, EKRE and Center are the second and third parties both in terms of support and in Riigikogu representation.
The remaining respondents to the Norstat poll would either have picked a non-parliamentary party, or answered "don't know."
By party, Reform remains most supported, with 31.9 a percent rating in the latest Norstat poll, followed by EKRE (21.3 percent) and Center (18 percent).
Reform's support level has remained static at around the 32-percent mark for the past three weeks, while EKRE's support has fallen by 3.7 percentage points since the end of 2022, and by 1.5 percentage points in the past week, Norstat says.
Center has seen a 1.4 percentage-point rise over the last week, while its support has risen by 2.5 percentage points in the last three weeks, bringing it to its highest rating since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, nearly a year ago.
The gap between Reform and EKRE is now 10.6 percentage points, while it is just 3.3 percentage points between EKRE and Center.
The non-parliamentary party picked up 10.7 percent of support in the latest Norstat survey, a rise of 1.2 percentage points over the past fortnight, followed by SDE (7.7 percent) and Isamaa (6.9 percent).
All the above six parties saw support levels above the 5 percent threshold needed to pick up seats in a given electoral district, under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation.
Below that threshold lie the Estonian Greens on 1.9 percent support, and the recently formed Parempoolsed, on 0.9 percent.
The line graph below shows the relative changes in party support levels since Norstat started compiling its surveys in their current format, over four years ago (Key: Yellow = Reform, green = Center, black = EKRE, royal blue = Isamaa, red = SDE, light blue = Eesti 200, light green = Estonian Greens, orange = Parempoolsed), while the tables following show the aggregate four-week ratings, and the week-by-week ratings (starting from December 12).
The above results would translate into a Riigikogu composition consisting of 36 seats for Reform (up from their current 34, while EKRE (23) and Center (19) would effectively switch places on their present tallies.
SDE and Isamaa would both have fewer seats (seven and six respectively) than they currently have (both just make it into double figures), with the balance being held by Eesti 200, who would have 10 seats.
Eesti 200 was founded in 2018 and narrowly missed out on winning seats at the 2019 Riigikogu election. The party won its first seats of any kind at the October 2021 local elections.
The above is of course based on Norstat's latest published results only; there are four full weeks to go until the advance voting period begins, Monday, February 27, followed by polling day on Sunday, March 5.
The XIV Riigikogu will be dissolved the previous week and holds its last sitting on February 23, according to the schedule provided on the Riigikogu website.
Norstat conducts its polls on a weekly basis and aggregates them over a four-week period.
The above results relate to the period December 19, 2022 to January 24, 2023 inclusive, and just over 4,000 Estonian citizens of voting age were quizzed, either over the phone or online.
In addition to the parties listed above, the Estonian United Left Party (EÜVP) is also running on March 5, as are 10 independent candidates.
Only Estonian citizens, wherever they are resident, may vote in a Riigikogu election.
Norstat's margin of error varies depending on the size of support of that given party – for instance with Reform, the most-supported party, the error margin is +/1.81 percent, compared with +/- 0.98 percent for Isamaa, Norstat says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte