The continued plummeting of coalition party Eesti 200's rating with the public has put it behind the Social Democrats (SDE), according to one recent survey.
The research, conducted by pollsters Norstat, is conducted weekly and aggregated over four weeks, but if we take the past week alone, during which time Norstat quizzed 1,000 respondents, Eesti 200 now lies behind its coalition partner, SDE.
During the week May 23-29, Norstat says, Eesti 200 polled at 8.3 percent, compared with 9.3 percent for SDE. Opposition party Isamaa's rating of 8.1 percent was only slightly behind Eesti 200's, Norstat adds.
Isamaa and SDE are the smallest parties by Riigikogu representation, with eight and nine seats respectively, while Eesti 200 won 14 seats on March 5, its first Riigikogu mandates.
Meanwhile another recent trend has continued over the past week according to Norstat – the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) remains ahead, on 26.3 percent of support, of the prime minister's party, Reform, which picked up exactly 25 percent.
The other Riigikogu party, Center, remains relatively static in its support and solidly in third place, at 18.1 percent.
The last week's figures differ quite substantially from the past four-week aggregate, however, so it might be too early to tell if the trend is not just a blip.
Eesti 200 polls at 10.5 percent, ie. in fourth place, over that time-frame, while the party polled at 13.3 percent on election day, March 5.
Prior to being in office, the party, founded in 2018, also saw significant fluctuations in its support ratings, with its high-water mark so far coming in late 2020, when it neared the 16 percent-mark.
As to what might be behind the recent slump in support for Eesti 200, the obvious examples would be (in presumed descending order of importance): The saga relating to embezzlement allegations which caused Johanna-Maria Lehtme to step down as an MP; misdemeanor proceedings and allegations of conflict of interest leveled at MP Tarmo Tamm, who now heads the Riigikogu's environment committee; association with the suppression of the recent Riigikogu filibuster (Riigikogu speaker Lauri Hussar is also Eesti 200's leader); the planned coalition tax hikes and family benefits cuts; a perception of the party being inexperienced and out of its depth, particularly with regard to the senior coalition partner, Reform, plus the overall ending of the "honeymoon" following the election.
The line graph below shows the relative changes in party support levels since Norstat started compiling its surveys in their current format. (Key: Yellow = Reform, green = Center, black = EKRE, royal blue = Isamaa, red = SDE, light blue = Eesti 200, light green = Estonian Greens, orange = Parempoolsed.
The two tables after that display the aggregate four-week ratings, and the week-by-week ratings (starting from week 10, and week commencing March 20, respectively).
Norstat conducts its polls on behalf of conservative think-tank the Institute of Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühishonnauuringute Instituut).
Editor: Andrew Whyte