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Researcher: EKRE will find it difficult to further increase its popularity

Kaja Kallas, Martin Helme, and Urmas Reinsalu.
Kaja Kallas, Martin Helme, and Urmas Reinsalu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Recent polling shows that EKRE and Reform are currently equally popular among the public, but a researcher believes it will be difficult for the opposition party to further increase its ratings.

According to the results of NGO Institute for Societal Studies and Norstat's weekly survey, EKRE and Reform are neck and neck on 23.1 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Ismaaa) is considered the most eligible candidate for prime minister.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, chairman of the Reform Party, said this fall in support is due to unpopular decisions taken by the party and coalition.

"It is understandable that people's resentment is directed at those who make the decisions. Can we do away with these decisions? We don't have those choices and we have to get on with it," she said.

EKRE's vice-chairman Henn Põlluaas said the party can increase its support level by relying on local voters.

"They still have our backs, whatever the scandals. So in that respect, I think we still have a chance to improve our ratings before the next elections. And I don't see the slightest reason why it should fall," said Põlluaas.

Political scientist Martin Mölder said EKRE's support is stable between 23-25 percent. The current situation is due to Reform's falling support, which he puts down to rising taxes.

Additionally, he said Reform has lost the ability to use its support for Ukraine as a way to increase support due to Kallas' eastern transport scandal.

Kantar Emor's survey results for September show Reform is the most popular party followed by EKRE. 

The company's researcher Aivar Voog said it will be difficult for EKRE to significantly increase its rating.

"EKRE is in the same [voter] segment as Isamaa, whose ratings are currently rising. And that in itself prevents a bigger rise for the EKRE. As far as the Reform Party is concerned, their rating depends a lot on the economic background," said Voog.

Norstat's survey asked who respondents preferred to see as prime minister. Kallas was more popular than Martin Helme, but less so than Reinsalu.

Kallas said Reinsalu is a good communicator.

"There has been a lot of criticism of my communication. But I'm a person, not an actor," she said.

Mölder said Reform and Eesti 200 voters continue to support Kallas but others have started to look for alternatives.

"Mihhail Kõlvart is not [an alternative], Martin Helme is not for most voters. Consequently, the next logical option is Urmas Reinsalu, who as the new leader of Isamaa has managed to make a dynamic impression and has managed to show Isamaa from a slightly different angle, as something other than EKRE's partner or something similar," Mölder said.

The next national election will take place in 2027.

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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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