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Party ratings: SDE sees continuing rise in support

SDE leader Lauri Läänemets (sitting) with the party's former social affairs minister, Peep Peterson, ahead of the March 2023 election.
SDE leader Lauri Läänemets (sitting) with the party's former social affairs minister, Peep Peterson, ahead of the March 2023 election. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While the coalition Social Democratic Party (SDE) is in fourth place, according to a recent survey, when the results of the same survey are taken based on the past week alone, SDE has risen in support to third place, above its coalition partner the Reform Party.

A total of 56.5 percent of respondents to the survey, conducted by pollsters Norstat on behalf of the Institute of Societal Studies (MTÜ Ühiskonnauuringute Instituut), pledged their support to one of the three opposition parties: Isamaa, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) or the Center Party, while 39.1 percent picked one of the three coalition parties, namely Reform, SDE or Eesti 200. The remainder were undecided.

Norstat conducts its polls on a weekly basis and aggregates them over a four-week period.

On this basis, Isamaa remains most-supported party with a rating of 25.7 percent, followed by EKRE at 18.1 percent, and Reform at 17.5 percent.

SDE lies in fourth place (15.5 percent over the four weeks), Center is in fifth place (12.7 percent) and Eesti 200 in sixth position (6.1 percent).

No other parties are currently represented at the Riigikogu.

SDE's support has risen by nearly 5 percentage points over the past four weeks at a time when Center's has fallen 2.5 percentage points.

This makes SDE's rating its highest since early 2019, while Center's support is at the lowest point during the same time-frame.

This contrast in fortunes finds less abstract expression in the recent defection of four former Center Party MPs to SDE, on top of three who have moved to Isamaa, most recently Jüri Ratas, Center's former leader, and one to Reform.

Support for the latter has not substantively changed in recent weeks, meaning it has arrested the recent decline in ratings seen before Christmas, while the same can be said of EKRE, which had briefly fallen behind Reform in the ratings.

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

When taking Norstat's data from the past week alone, Isamaa polls at 25.3 percent, EKRE at 21.5 percent and SDE by 17.1 percent, putting SDE ahead of its coalition partner Reform, on 13.5 percent.

Reform in turn is only one percentage point ahead of Center by this methodology, while Eesti 200's rating is slightly better than its four-week aggregate rating, at 6.5 percent.

Norstat says it polled a total of 4,000 Estonian citizens of voting age over the period January 2 to January 26, both online and over the phone and using a sample drawn based on various socio-economic indicators.

The above results by party exclude respondents who declared no preference.

Norstat claims a margin of error in direct proportion to the party's size by support level, so for instance the results for Isamaa, the most-supported party, have a margin of error of +/- 1.57 percent, compared with +/- 0.86 percent in the case of Eesti 200, the least-supported at present.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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