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Ratings: Reform Party support falls to five-year low

Riigikogu main debating chamber.
Riigikogu main debating chamber. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Support for the ruling Reform Party has fallen to its lowest point in five years, according to one recent survey.

The poll, conducted on a weekly basis by Norstat on behalf of think-tank the Institute of Social Studies ( (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) finds a total of 61.9 percent of respondents prefer one of the three opposition parties: Isamaa, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) or the Center Party, compared with 33.6 percent choosing one of the coalition partners – Reform, Eesti 200 or the Social Democrats (SDE). Undecided respondents would make up the balance.

By party, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' Reform Party is in third place at 16.8 percent, behind Isamaa (26.3 percent) and EKRE (20.4 percent). Reform had long topped the ratings, but fell to second place in September, then the third the following month.

Reform is at its lowest level since Norstat started conducting their weekly poll, nearly five years ago.

These "top" three are followed by Center on 15.2 percent, SDE on 10-7 percent and Eesti 200, which at 6.1 percent of the total is 1.1 percentage points above the minimum threshold to win seats in any electoral district, under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation.

Overall, Norstat notes that support for the six represented parties has stabilized as the end of the year approaches, and little has changed in recent weeks.

Isamaa remains most-supported, 5.9 percentage points ahead of EKRE. 3.6 percentage points behind is Reform, the largest party by Riigikogu seats and thus the largest party in the coalition.

More detailed information below shows changes in the week-by-week ratings, including for the smaller parties not currently represented in parliament.

The line graph below illustrates changes in party support levels since Norstat started compiling its surveys, in early 2019. (Key: Yellow = Reform, green = Center, black = EKRE, royal blue = Isamaa, red = SDE, light blue = Eesti 200, light green = Estonian Greens, orange = Parempoolsed).

The tables below that show the four-week aggregate figures Erakondade toetusprotsent (4 nädala koondtulemused ) and weekly figures (Iganädalased tulemused ) fore each party also (Key: Eesti Keskerakond = Center Party; Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond = EKRE; Eesti Reformierakond = Reform; Sotisiaaldemokraatlik Erakond = SDE; Erakond Eesti Rohelised = Greens; Muu = Other parties).

Of factors behind Reform's fall, unpopular policies unveiled after entering office with Eesti 200 and SDE in April, including a hike of 2 percentage points to the VAT rate and a much-panned car tax due to come into effect in 2025, the handling of the state budget process through the fall and the aftermath of media reports about the prime minister's spouse's business dealings are most often cited.

Fatigue with Reform having been in office across three administrations since January 2021 and the advantages being in opposition brings can also be factored in.

Isamaa obtained a new leader in mid-June in the form of former foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu; Center's change in leader (to Tallinn mayor, Mihhail Kõlvart) was followed by an initial drop in support, while Eesti 200's more recent change in leadership to Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna does not yet seem to have been followed by a significant change in its rating.

Norstat conducts its poll each week then aggregates the results over the preceding four weeks. The most recent survey covers the period November 27 to December 22, when just over 4,000 Estonian citizens were quizzed, both over the phone and online and using a sample weighted in line with various socio-economic indicators.

Norstat claims a margin of error of +/- 1.58 percent in the case of Isamaa, the most-supported party, and +/-1 0.86 percent in the case of Eesti 200, which polled lowest of the six Riigikogu parties. The other parties' claimed margins of error would lie between those two points.

The next election is to the European Parliament, in June 2024.

Norstat is one of three major polling firms which regularly publish surveys of the Estonian political party scene, the other two being Turu-uuringute and Kantar Emor. The Institute of Social Studies is a conservative think-tank.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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