Two and a half months before the next Riigikogu election, Centre Party chairman and incumbent Prime Minister Jüri Ratas remains the favourite contender for Estonia's next head of government, but support for opposition Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas is also on the rise again, it appears from the results of a poll commissioned by daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS on the best fit for prime minister.
While support for Ratas was at the year's highest level at 32% and for Kallas at the year's lowest at 17% in October, the results over the past two months have slowly begun to even out. According to the poll, the results of which were published in Friday's edition of the paper, Ratas has the support of 28% and Kallas 19% of voters.
Since November, Kallas gained a significant amount of her own party members' support, especially compared to the heads of other parliamentary parties; while in November she commanded the support of just 56% of Reform voters, by December she had earned the support of 73%. Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder managed to increase his own support by 11% to 28%, while support for Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) chairman Mart Helme increased from 56% to 63%, and for Ratas from 78% to 80%.
The only party chair to lose ground with their voters was Social Democratic Party (SDE) chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski, support for whom fell sharply — from 31% to 17%. Overall support for Ossinovski as prime minister totalled 3%.
Migration compact crisis affects numbers
As the poll was conducted shortly after the recent government crisis, Turu-uuringute AS research director Juhan Kivirähk associated Ossinovski's drop in support with his actions during the migration compact dispute.
Ratas' decrease in popularity, meanwhile, has been influenced by a decrease in support among ethnic Estonian voters. While 29% and 20% of ethnic Estonians, respectively, supported Ratas and Kallas in October, support for the two major party leaders has evened out to 23% each in December. According to Kivirähk, Ratas' support for the UN Global Compact for Migration may be a factor in this loss of support.
Editor: Aili Vahtla