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Party ratings: Support for SDE starting to climb

SDE chair Lauri Läänemets, ex-Center MPs Jaak Aab, Ester Karuse, Tanel Kiik, Andre Hanimägi and MP and former SDE chair Jevgeni Ossinovski. January 5, 2024.
SDE chair Lauri Läänemets, ex-Center MPs Jaak Aab, Ester Karuse, Tanel Kiik, Andre Hanimägi and MP and former SDE chair Jevgeni Ossinovski. January 5, 2024. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Support for coalition party the Social Democrats (SDE), whose Riigikogu faction recently gained four MPs at the Center Party's expense, has started to rise, according to a recent poll.

The survey, conducted over the past week by pollsters Norstat on behalf of NGO Institute of Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut) found 59.1 percent of respondents backed an opposition party – Isamaa, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) or the Center Party, compared with 35.9 percent for one of the coalition partners: The Reform Party, SDE or Eesti 200 (unpledged respondents made up the difference).

By party, 26.8 percent of respondents picked Isamaa, 18.2 percent went for EKRE, and 17.6 percent for the prime minister's party, Reform.

These "top" three were followed by the Center Party at 14.1 percent, SDE (12.3 percent) and Eesti 200 (6 percent).

While Eesti 200 is now just above the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in any of Estonia's direct elections, SDE has seen its support rise, by 1.4 percentage points on the week and to its highest level all-time, since Norstat started running its polls in their current format.

Meanwhile the Center Party's rating fell by 1.1 percentage points on the week, according to Norstat.

Isamaa's rating has stayed in the 26-27 percent range since the end of last year, while EKRE's has fallen by 1.5 percentage points in a week, plus by 2.5 percentage points since mid-December.

Support for Reform and Eesti 200 has not changed significantly in recent weeks.

Norstat conducts its poll on a weekly basis, aggregating its results over the preceding four weeks giving the results above.

However, when the last week's responses are taken alone, SDE overtook EKRE.

On this basis, 27.3 percent of respondents pledged for Isamaa, 17.5 percent for the Reform Party, and 16.1 percent for SDE.

EKRE lie in fourth place on the past week, at 16.1 percent, while Center polled at 12.3 percent, and Eesti 200 at 5.3 percent.

Less than two weeks ago, SDE acquired four new MPs (pictured), including two ex-ministers, which is likely behind their rise in popularity with respondents to Norstat's poll.

The line graph below illustrates changes in party support levels since 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 following that that show the four-week aggregate figures Erakondade toetusprotsent (4 nädala koondtulemused ) and weekly figures (Iganädalased tulemused) for each party (Key: Eesti Keskerakond = Center Party; Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond = EKRE; Eesti Reformierakond = Reform; Sotisiaaldemokraatlik Erakond = SDE; Erakond Eesti Rohelised = Greens; Muu = Other parties).

The latest Norstat results cover the period December 11 to January 12 inclusive, for the four-week aggregate. Due to the Christmas break, the four weekly polls covered shorter time frames; the most recent week covers a polling period of January 8-12.

Just over 4,000 Estonian citizens of voting age were quizzed both over the phone and online. Norstat claims a margin of error in direct proportion to the size of a party's level of support, so for instance the claimed margin of error with Isamaa, the largest party by support, is +/- 1.58 percent, compared with +/- 0.58 percent for Eesti 200, the smallest by support.

The next elections are to the European Parliament, in June.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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