Two special polls conducted in the wake of revelations that the husband of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) had a significant stake in a company doing business in Russia after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and right up to this week, revealed that the bulk of those surveyed want Kallas to step down as prime minister.
The surveys, conducted by Norstat and Turu-uuringute, found differences based on the parties respondents support, and other indicators; Reform Party supporters largely remained loyal to Kallas.
Norstat's survey, conducted on behalf of conservative think-tank the Institute for Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), posed the question: "How do you think Prime Minister Kaja Kallas should behave in relation to news reports that have appeared over the last few days, that a logistics firm associated with her husband has continued to transport to Russia since the war in Ukraine started?"
The response options were "She should resign," "She should provide an explanation but could then continue in the post," "She should do nothing," and "Can't say."
A majority, 57 percent of respondents, stated that Kallas should resign as head of government. Thirty-one percent answered that she should provide an explanation, but might then continue in the post, while 7 percent opted for the "do nothing" option. The remaining 5 percent were in the "Can't say" bracket.
While over half of respondents consider the prime minister's resignation necessary, as might be expected, answers differ significantly depending on the respondent's party preference.
Among the three opposition parties, resignation was the overwhelming majority choice, from voters of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) at 96 percent, Center (80 percent) and Isamaa (74 percent).
As for the two smaller coalition partners, 28 percent of declared Eesti 200 voters said Kaja Kallas should step down, Norstat reports, while 39 percent of Social Democrat (SDE) supporters said the same thing.
Reform Party voters and supporters remained largely loyal, however. Just 8 percent said the prime minister should step down in the wake of the revelations, though on the other hand, only 19 percent said she should do nothing.
The largest component consisted of Reformists who thought their leader should provide explanations, but then could continue in office – at 71 percent.
Norstat conducted its poll August 24-25, ie. Thursday and Friday, online-only.
A total of 1,000 Estonian citizens of voting age were quizzed.
Turu-uuringute: A majority want the head of government to step down
Meanwhile another polling company, Turu-uuringute, conducted their survey on the same topic, daily Eesti Päevalent (EPL) reports.
In this case, the response options to the question whether Kallas should resign after the recent controversy were "Definitely yes," "Preferably yes," "Preferably no," and "Definitely no."
The first category, that the prime minister should definitely leave her post, found the largest single number of responses, at 48 percent of the total, followed by the "Preferably yes" option at 21 percent, making 69 percent of respondents to the survey inclined towards a resignation.
14 percent answered that she would preferably not resign, while 9 percent answered "Definitely not."
Among non-native speakers of Estonia, ironically referring mainly to native Russian speakers, the proportion was higher in favor of her resignation (at 83 percent) compared with 61 percent among native Estonian speakers.
Again, fewer Reform voters were in favor of a resignation, though more than in Norstat's poll, at 17 percent.
Of Reform's coalition partners, whose MPs might hold the balance if it came to a Riigikogu vote, 38 percent of SDE supporters were in favor of a resignation, while for Eesti 200 voters, the party closest to Reform in terms of worldview, the figure was as high as 61 percent for a change of prime minister.
Turu-uuringute said it started its survey at 5 p.m. on Thursday, ie. after Kaja Kallas had given an account of the situation at the regular lunchtime press conference, and finished the survey process this morning, ie. Friday.
A total of 767 people were polled, and Turu-uuringute claimed a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
Editor: Andrew Whyte