October ratings: Most parties support rising, interest in elections falling

Leaders of three of the biggest political parties. Clockwise from left: Jüri Ratas (Centre), Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Mart Helme (EKRE).
Leaders of three of the biggest political parties. Clockwise from left: Jüri Ratas (Centre), Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: (Anette Parksepp/ERR)

Opposition Reform Party's support grew in October, increasing its lead over second-placed Centre Party, according to a recent survey.

The poll, commissioned by the Baltic News Service (BNS) and daily Postimees, conducted by market research company Kantar Emor, showed 28.4% of respondents who expressed a preference would vote for Reform, up from 26.7% in September and reversing a slow downward drift in support through the course of 2018.

Centre also saw a small increase in support, 0.6% compared with September, to 25.2%, the highest rating enjoyed by the party since January, according to Kantar Emor.

Estonia 200 overtake Pro Patria

The trend for rising support continued with junior coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SDE), who increased from 12.5% to 14% month-on-month, with fellow coalition party, Isamaa/Pro Patria, experiencing a smaller rise, 4.9% to 5.1%, over the same time period.

However, Pro Patria was overtaken in popularity by newcomer Estonia 200, whose support rose by over a percentage point since September, to 5.4%, following its declaration of becoming a full fledged party (though it still needs a few more members to meet the required threshold of 500 members to be a legally registered party).

The non-parliamentary Estonian Greens saw its popularity rise from 3.2% in September to 4% in October.

EKRE and Free drop in support

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), whilst continuing in third place, was one of two major parties to experience a drop in support from 20% in September, to 15.8%, by Kantar Emor's estimation, as did the Free Party, now languishing at 1.8% of support (compared with 3.4% in September) and well below the 5% needed to secure seats at the Riigikogu elections (Free currently has seven seats, but with support draining away and probably below the required 500 at present, it looks like curtains in March 2019, as a parliamentary party).

Support for the other newly-formed political grouping, but not yet party, the Biodiversity Party led by former Free leader Artur Talvik remained at a big fat zero in the ratings.

The above data excludes those respondents who listed "no preference" regarding any party or leanings, to make the survey as comparable as possible with the outcome of a parliamentary election (ie if Free's support of 1.8% carried over into any electoral district, it would receive no seats in that district; Pro Patria has bounced back a little, but is only slightly above the threshold).

The actual share of respondents who answered "no preference" stood at 25% in October,  a rise of 2% since September, suggesting possible election fatigue.

954 citizens aged 18-84 were surveyed by Kantar Emor, 11-18 October, by way of online interviews. The margin of error is ±2.9 percent per 1,000 respondents, Kantar Emor says.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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