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February ratings: Social Democrats' downward trend continues

Estonia's Social Democrats have suffered setback after setback over the recent months. Now party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski has decided to resign his government post and concentrate on the next campaign
Estonia's Social Democrats have suffered setback after setback over the recent months. Now party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski has decided to resign his government post and concentrate on the next campaign Source: Image: Eesti Meedia/Scanpix, Graphic: Anette Parksett/ERR

The February party ratings show Center and Reform neck-and-neck at 27 percent, with junior partner IRL gaining one percent, and SDE dropping from 11 to 8 percent support. EKRE gained and now stand at 14 percent, while the Free Party's ratings are still below the election threshold.

Support for the Social Democrats (SDE) has dropped from 11 percent in January to just 8 percent this month. The last time SDE had a comparably low result was in 2010 when they stood at 7.3 percent, ERR's Estonian-language news reported.

The party's ratings have shown a downward trend for a while now. While they were at an average 15 percent in 2015, in 2016 they were down to 13 and in 2017 to 11 percent.

Center and Reform in the lead, Free Party remains below 5 percent

The Center Party and the Reform Party both had 27 percent support in ERR's February poll, which means that things remained the same for the governing Center Party, while the opposition Reform Party's popularity improved by 1 percent.

Support for the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) increased from 12 to 14 percent in February. The popularity of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) increased from 5 percent in January to 6 percent this month. The Free Party's rating is still below the 5-percent threshold and unchanged at 4 percent.

The Estonian Greens, not currently represented in the Riigikogu, lost 1 percent and stood at 3 percent support in the February poll.

Opposition overtakes coalition

Comparing the combined popularity ratings of the coalition and opposition parties, the most noteworthy change this month is that the latter managed to overtake the governing parties.

Support for the coalition's Center, SDE, and IRL dropped from 43 percent in January to 41 percent. At the same time, support for the opposition's Reform, Free Party, and EKRE increased from 42 to 45 percent.

The share of respondents who expressed a political preference for parties or candidates outside the Riigikogu's current composition amounted to 14 percent.

Center Party most stable over time, Reform best set to win election

Looking at historical data since 2015, the Center Party has shown the most stable base of supporters, while both the Reform Party and EKRE have managed to increase their share in recent years' averages. IRL, SDE, and the Free Party have shown a downward trend since.

Looking at respondents' first and second choices combined, the Reform Party at 37 percent seems best set to win the next election. The Center Party's combined results put it at 32 percent.

EKRE comes in third with a combined result of 24 percent. While in the case of Center and Reform more people named them as their first choice, EKRE's first and second choice support is almost even.

The Social Democrats are next with 20 percent, followed by IRL with 17 percent and the Free Party with 13 percent. The Greens are looking at a combined support of 9 percent.

SDE, IRL, and the Free Party all have more second-choice than first-choice supporters, which means that though their ratings are currently low, there still are plenty of people who given the right conditions would be happy to vote for them.

The poll was done by Turu-uuringute AS for ERR between Feb. 7 and 20. The pollster interviewed 1,011 respondents face-to-face. The share of respondents who didn't express a political preference or who said that they wouldn't vote increased from 31 to 35 percent over the last month.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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