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Norstat poll: Close to three-quarters of respondents back teachers' strike

Teachers held a rally in Tartu on Wednesday, in support of the nationwide teachers strike.
Teachers held a rally in Tartu on Wednesday, in support of the nationwide teachers strike. Source: Airika Harrik/ERR

Whereas a total of 72 percent of respondents to a poll last week said they approved of a teachers' strike, this figure has risen to 73 percent this week, now the strike has gotten underway.

This week's survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf conservative think tank the Institute of Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), quizzed parents of school-age children, rather than the general populace more broadly.

The strike, ostensibly over wages, enters its forth day Thursday.

Norstat reports that 22 percent of those polled however condemn the strike.

Respondents were asked, "What is your view of teachers striking for higher pay?"

As noted 72 percent of the respondents said that they approve, or or are somewhat in favor, compared with 22 percent who somewhat condemn, or wholly condemn, the strike. The remaining 7 percent were unable to say either way.

A week ago, the figures were 67 percent in favor, 25 percent opposed.

When broken down by party support, a majority of respondents who said they support all parties, coalition and opposition, apart from the Reform Party, were in favor of the strike.

This ranged from 88 percent of Social Democrats (SDE), to 83 percent of Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) supporters, to 80 percent of Center Party voters, down to 74 percent among Eesti 200 supporters, and 73 percent of Isamaa voters.

Only stated Reform Party voters responding to the Norstat survey were mostly opposed to the strike – 38 percent of the prime minister's party's supporters said they approve of it.

Respondents were also quizzed on what they thought the next possible steps the Reform Party's coalition partners might be, in relation to the issue of teacher wages.

One question asked: "Do you think SDE and Eesti 200 initiating a motion of no confidence in the prime minister would be the right thing to do, if the Reform Party does not back down on the issue of teachers' pay?"

To this, 60 percent asked "Yes," or "Preferably yes," compared with 27 percent answering "No," or "Preferably not," and 13 percent who couldn't say.

By party, however, only 42 percent of pledged Eesti 200 supporters would support a move like this. The education minister, Kristina Kallas, belongs to Eesti 200.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 5 percent of Reform supporters said they would support a motion of no confidence in the prime minister in the above scenario, while for SDE, the coalition partner most in favor of the strike, the figure was more than half, at 56 percent.

Again hardly surprisingly, figures were high for the opposition parties' supporters: 77 percent of Isamaa supporters, 86 percent of Center Party supporters and 88 percent of EKRE voters said they would support a motion of no confidence in the Reform Party prime minister, Kaja Kallas, in this case, even if it were presented by the other two coalition parties.

Another question asked if pushing through teacher wage hikes via the support of SDE and Eesti 200. Fifty-eight percent of respondents thought this would be the right thing to do, 29 percent opposed such a move.

By party, again respondents who said they supported the opposition parties, EKRE (80 percent), Center (79 percent) and Isamaa (71 percent), favored the move more than voters of coalition parties.

However even then, a majority of SDE supporters (60 percent) and a small majority of Eesti 200 voters (51 percent) responding to the Norstat survey said they would be in favor of the above measure.

The figure in favor from pledged Reform Party respondents stood at 12 percent.

Finally, the Norstat survey also asked if Kaja Kallas should resign as prime minister.

A total of 69 percent answered "Yes," or "Preferably yes," compared with 24 percent answering "No," or "Preferably not," and 6 percent who ere undecided.

The figure in favor of Kallas stepping down had risen, according to Norstat, from 65 percent resulting from a similar survey last week.

Norstat conducted its survey online on Wednesday, January 24, quizzing 1,008 Estonian citizens aged 18 and above.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi

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