Survey: Reform on track for election victory, EKRE's support dips
A new poll suggests Reform is on course to win the most votes at the election this weekend and that EKRE's support is lower than other pollsters suggest.
The latest survey was carried out between Feburary 28 and March 2. It asked respondents about both candidates and party preferences.
When it comes to party preferences, Reform was 29 percent (margin of error ± 2.2 percent) of respondents' top choice.
There was little between the following three: Center 16 percent (± 1.8 percent), Eesti 200 15.3 percent ( ± 1.8 percent), and EKRE 14.3 percent ( ± 1.7 percent).
The Social Democratic Party (SDE) was the only other party supported by over 10 percent of respondents, with 11.5 percent. Isamaa had 7.2 percent ( ± 1.6 percent).
Parempoolsed, the Greens and other parties failed to cross the 5 percent threshold.
Twenty percent of participants had no preference.
Kantar Emor also asked respondents to pick a preference from a list of three candidates in their municipalities.
When candidates were taken into consideration, Reform's support rose to 30.3 percent (± 2.2 percent).
Most other parties' results were unaffected, Center 15.7 percent (± 1.8 percent), Eesti 200 ( ± 1.8 percent), SDE 11.4 percent (± 1.6 percent) and Isamaa 7.1 percent (± 1.3 percent).
EKRE's fell to 13.6 percent ( ± 1.7 percent).
The other parties remained below the threshold.
Pollster: Prigozhin scandal has impacted EKRE
Reform still has a decent gap between itself and the other parties, said Kantar Emor's research expert Aivar Voog. But Center, EKRE and Eesti 200's final positions are less clear.
He said the allegations linking EKRE to Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of Wagner, the Russian paramilitary organization, published by POLITICO have cost the party.
"Compared to last week, EKRE's support has fallen the most, mainly among men and among citizens with higher than average incomes. EKRE's main supporter has been men aged 50-74, and the decline among them is not as great as in other age groups (25-34 and 75+). The reason for the decline in EKRE's rating lies in the scandal related to Prigozhin. The scandal had no effect in its early stages, but the additional information [Prigozhin's own testimony] has apparently started to have an effect," Voog said.
Estonia's Internal Security Service (ISS) said it had no information about physical contact between EKRE Prigozhin. EKRE Chairman Martin Helme has dismissed the story as "fake news".
The polling company's results suggest Reform will win 36 seats in the Riigikogu, 16 each for Center and Eesti 200, 14 for EKRE, 12 for SDE and seven for Isamaa.
The results were made based on support across different constituencies. They showed Reform is likely to win eight constituencies, and EKRE and Center two each.
The latest survey's results are similar to several others this week which showed Reform will win the most votes in the election. Although Norstat's shows the gap closing between Reform and EKRE.
There were no big differences in polling at the 2019 Riigikogu elections and 2021 local elections. This year, EKRE's support varies from 14-25 percent depending on the survey.
Voog put this difference down to when the surveys were carried out. The latest Kantar Emor poll questioned voters between February 28-March 2, Norstat between February 21-27, RAIT Faktum & Arikol between February 10-27, and Turu-uuringute AS between February 20-28.
He said Kantar Emor's study may be the only one which shows the full impact of the Prigozhin scandal. It was also carried out during advance voting when many people may have already voted.
"Secondly, it may reflect a greater volatility of voter preferences as the elections approach, with all parties trying to attract potential voters in recent weeks through media advertising, social media and direct contacts. A situation could arise where one moment the voter favors one party and the next moment when the voter is influenced by another party," he said.
Kantar Emor carried out polling on behalf of ERR and 1,613 voting-aged citizens participated. One-third were questioned over the phone and two-thirds online. The margin of error was ± 2.4 percent.
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Editor: Helen Wright