Over half of Reform Party and also Social Democrats (SDE) voters support the coalition government's planned car tax, contrary to the vast majority of Estonians, who oppose it, according to a recent survey.
The study, conducted by Kantar Emor, found that 70 percent of respondents said they would generally not support, or not support at all, a car tax.
Five percent of respondents were unable to answer.
The question was phrased as "do not support" (or "do support"), rather than "oppose" the car tax.
Of those who do support a car tax such as that being planned by the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition, the largest proportion, at 59 percent, are to be found among the ranks of Reform Party supporters – the poll incorporated respondents party preferences into the survey.
The largest number of supporters (59 percent) are among the voters of the Reform Party, while only one in ten of them answered that they fully support the idea.
The car tax is essentially a Reform proposal and was included in the coalition agreement the party signed with Eesti 200 and SDE in April, though the exact nature of the planned tax had not been outlined at that point.
Among SDE supporters, just over half of respondents (at 53 percent) said they support the car tax idea, while among these, 21 percent said they "fully support" the concept.
As for Eesti 200 voters, support for the car tax was lower, at 38 percent.
The percentage of supporters of the car tax were in the single-figures from among those who vote for any of the three opposition parties.
The proportion was smallest among Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) voters, at 4 percent, while the figure among Isamaa voters was only one percentage point higher than that at 5 percent.
Seven percent of Center Party voters said they supported the car tax.
By age group, the largest proportion of people who answered that they "fully support" the car tax was to be found among the youngest demographic, aged 15-24. A total of 16 percent from this group fully supported the tax, while overall support ran at 36 percent – the same figure for the next age group up (25-34).
As for other demographic indicators, support for the car tax is higher among those with a higher education qualification – a section of society where the Reform Party tends to perform better than average – and among Tallinn residents. Opponents of the car tax often point to the need for access to a vehicle in more rural areas of Estonia.
Kantar Emor conducted the poll in the period August 10-16, and quizzed 1,152 Estonian residents (not just citizens), aged 15-84.
The survey was conducted online.
A similar survey conducted by Norstat on behalf of the Institute for Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) and published in late July gave similar results. In this study, 21 percent of respondents supported the car tax, and 72 percent were opposed to it.
The proposed car tax bill would need to pass three readings at the Riigikogu before it could enter into law.
Editor: Andrew Whyte