The Reform Party's decision to include Eesti 200 in the next coalition was pragmatic as the party would have continued to gain in popularity in the opposition, Kantar Emor expert Aivar Voog and ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Urmet Kook found.
The Reform Party, after winning the March 5 general election in Estonia, remains firmly on top of ratings in the second half of March with 29 percent. Pollster Kantar Emor carried out four surveys in February and early March in which Reform's average rating came to 30 percent.
Eesti 200, the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and the Center Party are in second, third and fourth places with very little between them on 16.3, 15.7 and 15.4 percent respectively.
Urmet Kook and Anvar Samost pointed out that support is growing for sides to currently ongoing coalition talks Reform, Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE), while it's is headed down for EKRE, Isamaa and Center.
Asked whether this can be considered natural, Kantar Emor survey expert Aivar Voog suggested it depends on expectations and interpretation of results following elections. He added that such growth could last for six months.
Kook said that the Reform Party has always tried to form a government with up and coming forces, those who were given a clear mandate from voters. "Once they are involved, their novelty wears off and unpopular decisions follow. It is a pragmatic approach. Their popularity would keep growing in the opposition.
Talking about the United Left Party's rating of 6 percent, Voog said it has potential to keep growing. "It suggests the party could manage the election threshold [of 5 percent] next elections," Voog remarked.
Samost added that support for Center remains considerable among Russian speakers at 47 percent. "Even during the Russia-critical Ukraine war, Center has retained the support of Russian speakers in Estonia."
Kook asked whether Center should elect [Tallinn Mayor] Mihhail Kõlvart as its next chairman, courtesy of his Russian supporters. "Would Center have more to gain than lose?" he asked. Center is currently headed by Jüri Ratas, seen as representing the party's Estonian voters.
Voog pointed out that Russian-speaking voters make up just 20 percent of the total and the gain would not be as valuable as the backing of Estonian voters.
Talking about EKRE, Anvar Samost suggested their voters include people with rather radical views. "The question they should be asking is whether they can reach people who are not as radical," he said.
Voog agreed that EKRE have lost their more fickle voters. "They are left with the 16 percent who really support their radical and rowdy course."
Samost said that conservative Isamaa lost people and potential vote magnets to other parties [besides EKRE]. Kook added that looking at Isamaa ratings, their slump started in 2015 when the party's rating dipped below 10 percent.
Regarding political newcomers Parempoolsed, Voog said that while the party is attractive, they are not people's first choice yet. "A lot depends on Isamaa in those terms."
Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Marcus Turovski