Party ratings: Reform top poll both with candidates listed and without

Recent polls would see six parties make the Riigikogu.
Recent polls would see six parties make the Riigikogu. Source: ERR

The Reform Party received most support in a survey conducted by market research firm Kantar Emor on behalf of public broadcaster ERR, while the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) lay in second place, the Center Party in third.

Support for Center and also the Social Democrats (SDE) rises slightly if individual candidates are mentioned in the question, as against party alone.

Kantar Emor presented to respondents to the poll the top three candidates on each party's list, in each of the 12 electoral districts in Estonia. Respondents picked one of these.

An exception was the Green Party (Rohelised) which had not published its full list of candidates at the time the survey was conducted, meaning only the party as a whole was listed as an item.

Kantar Emor also asked about party-only in an accompanying poll, though there were few differences (of less than one percent) between the named candidates survey, and the party survey.

The bar chart below shows the results of the candidates survey (darker color, upper bar) as against the party-only support rating (lighter color).

As can be seen, support for EKRE and for Eesti 200 was slightly lower with named candidates, than for the party brand as a whole, while for SDE and Center, the reverse was the case – though again the differences were minimal.

Listed candidates poll

In the first survey, containing the top three candidates' names in each electoral district, Reform picked up 31.4 percent of support, EKRE 18.6 percent and Center 16.4 percent.

These three were followed by Eesti 200 (11.9 percent), SDE (8.1 percent), and Isamaa with 5.3 percent.

The remaining parties were below the five-percent threshold needed to win seats in any electoral district. The Greens polled at 2.9 percent (as noted the poll in any case only reflected support for the party as a whole), Parempoolsed at 2.2 percent, while other parties and independents combined polled at 1 percent.

Party names-only poll

By party-only, the order of support was the same.

Reform polled at 31.5 percent (+0.1 percentage point compared with the candidate-listed poll), EKRE at 19.1 percent (+0.5 percentage points), Center on 16 percent (-0.4 percentage points), Eesti 200 at 12.4 percent (+0.5 percentage points), SDE at 7.6 percent (-0.5 percentage points) and Isamaa at 5.6 percent (+0.3 percentage points).

Parempoolsed polled slightly worse at 2 percent, as did other parties plus independents, at 2.9 percent.

No significant changes were observed compared with a poll conducted two weeks ago by Kantar Emor, with fluctuations among the largest three parties by support coming to a couple of percentage points.

The latest survey sees Parempoolsed poll above 1 percent, for the first time since the party was formed last autumn.

The three coalition parties combined (Reform, Isamaa and SDE) picked up close to 45 percent support together (unchanged on the first half of January this year), while the two opposition parties, Center and EKRE, together polled lower at 35 percent (down from 39 percent in the previous survey). Support for non-parliamentary parties (Eesti 200, Greens, Parempoolsed and others) and independents makes up the remainder.

The generally liberal, internationalist end of the party political spectrum (Reform, Eesti 200 and SDE) polled at 52 percent, up from 49 percent a fortnight ago, while the more conservative/populist (EKRE, Isamaa, Center) side conversely saw a fall, to 41 percent combined (down from 46 perccent).

Responses by demographic

Among native speakers of Estonian, Reform polled highest at 38 percent (up from 33 percent two weeks ago), EKRE was in second on 21 percent and Eesti 200 third, on 13 percent.

SDE was next (8 percent), Isamaa polled at 7 percent and Center at 6 percent.

The Greens picked up 3.6 percent of support; Parempoolsed, 2.5 percent.

Among respondents from "other nationalities", in practice meaning Russian-speakers with Estonian citizenship, the Center Party was in first place with 53 percent (up from time 51 percent) two weeks ago). 

EKRE amassed 12 percent support, Eesti 200 11 percent, the Reform Party 9 percent, and SDE 6 percent.

The bar chart below shows party ratings according to Kantar Emor, among native Estonian speakers (lighter blue) compared with respondents of "other nationalities", in practice meaning Russian-speakers with Estonian citizenship.

In Tallinn, the Center Party took first place with 33 percent, followed by the Reform Party on 24 percent, and EKRE on 14 percent.

In Harju and Rapla counties, another more populous electoral district, the Reform Party was clearly ahead with 39 percent, with EKRE in second place on 21 percent.

In the Ida-Viru County electoral district, Eesti 200 took first place with 25 percent, followed by the Center Party on 19 percent. The region, whose towns are mostly majority-Russian speaking, in terms of native language, has long been a Center stronghold, making this a significant result for Eesti 200.

EKRE polled highest in Southeastern Estonia at 30 percent, while Reform polled highest in Western Estonia and the islands (37 percent).

Support had unpledged respondents removed

Kantar Emor's survey took out the component of respondents who answered "can't say", in order to make the results more comparable with those of a Riigikogu election, where a "don't know" option is naturally not available.

The share of "can't say" respondents in fact rose, to 28 percent, between the first half of the month (when the figure was 26 percent) and the latest survey.

However this figure is still down from the 30 percent posted in December 2022.

If unpledged respondents are inserted into the data, Reform's support for Refrorm stands at 24 percent (up from 22 percent last time); EKRE's at 14 percent (down from 16 percent) and Center's at 10 percent (down from 12 percent).

Eesti 200 polled at 9 percent, SDE t 5 percent and Isamaa at 4 percent, by this methodology.

The bar chart below illustrates these results (the black bar "Ei oska öelda" represents the "can't say" component).

Kantar Emor conducted the survey, ordered by ERR, between January 19 and 26 inclusive, and 1,639 Estonian citizens aged 18-84 were polled, a third over the phone, and two-thirds online.

Kantar Emor claims a maximum margin error of +/- 2.4 percent in this case.

The Riigikogu election is on Sunday, March 5, preceded by an advance voting period, which starts Monday, February 27.

Visit ERR News' elections page here.


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Editor: urmet Kook, Andrew Whyte

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