Surveys: Support for Kaja Kallas as prime minister falls

Kaja Kallas leaving a Reform Party board meeting held at the Riigikogu on Friday, September 8, 2023.
Kaja Kallas leaving a Reform Party board meeting held at the Riigikogu on Friday, September 8, 2023. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Support for Kaja Kallas as prime minister has fallen to its lowest point of the year so far, according to a recent survey. Former Center Party leader Jüri Ratas polled ahead of her in the same survey, while the leaders of the other two opposition parties placed third and fourth.

The research, conducted by pollsters Turu-uuringute AS on behalf of daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), follows a now three-week-long saga revolving around the prime minister's husband's business activities, more specifically those which have involved providing logistics to a related firm exporting items into the Russian Federation, and a substantial loan the prime minister provided her spouse.

Turu-uuringute finds support for Kallas as head of government has fallen by five percentage points to 20 percent between August and September.

Another polling firm, Norstat, also reports a fall in support for Kallas.

Turu-uuringute's results, EPL reports (link in Estonian), show the issue revolves around the person, and not the political party, since Reform's support according to the same company has remained stable at around the 23-percent mark; in June it even jumped to 26 percent – though this was before the current scandal broke in the media.

Kallas has in fact been overtaken by Jüri Ratas, who last weekend stepped down as leader of the opposition Center Party.

Ratas, who was prime minister 2016-2021, polled at 23 percent according to Turu-uuringute; the change in Center leadership was too recent to yet be reflected in the Turu-uuringute research.

Another recently appointed party chief is Urmas Reinsalu, who replaced Helir-Valdor Seeder as Isamaa leader in June.

Isamaa is also in opposition.

Whereas in May to June, according to Turu-uuringute, Seeder polled at 4 percent, as of September, Reinsalu picked up 16 percent of support.

Isamaa itself has also seen a rise in support, from 8-9 percent in May to June, to 14 percent at present.

This puts the party well above the 5-percent threshold needed to win seats at any of Estonia's three categories of direct elections: Riigikogu, EU and local.

Isamaa had for many years often teetered on the brink of this threshold, according to pollsters.

Meanwhile leader of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Martin Helme placed fourth in the Turu-uuringute research, at 13 percent.

Norstat research

Meanwhile Norstat, commissioned by think-tank X, found a two percentage-point fall in the prime minister's rating in the two weeks between the end of the month and the present.

Respondents to Norstat's survey were posed the question: "Who would you prefer to see hold the office of Prime Minister," with the options being the current leaders of all six Riigikogu parties.

Kallas polled at 23.7 percent in a survey conducted by Norstat August 28-29, whereas the latest survey puts her rating at 21.6 percent.

Martin Helme placed second in the ranking of preference for which party leader respondents would like to see as prime minister, on 18 percent.

Urmas Reinsalu, a former foreign minister, was not far behind, at 16.3 percent.

The Norstat survey also takes into account new Center leader Mihhail Kõlvart, who polled at 12.8 percent, ie. in fourth place.

Kõlvart is current mayor of Tallinn.

Lauri Läänemets, Minister of the Interior and leader of the coalition Social Democrats (SDE) came next on 4.4 percent, while Riigikogu speaker and Eesti 200 leader Lauri Hussar was the preferred choice as prime minister for 2 percent of respondents to the Norstat poll.

Additionally, around 25 percent of respondents were undecided on the question.

Norstat conducted its survey online on Wednesday, September 13, polling 1,000 Estonian citizens of voting age.


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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Andrew Whyte

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