Reform re-take lead over Centre in Kantar Emor opinion polls

Party leaders (L-R): Jüri Ratas (Centre), Kaul Nurm (Free), Kaja Kallas (Reform), Kristina Kallas (Estonia 200), Jevgeni Ossinovksi (SDE), Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa), President Kersti Kaljulaid, Mihkel Kangur (Richness of Life), Zuzu Ismailova (Greens) Source: Siim Lõvi / ERR

The opposition Reform Party has re-taken the lead in the opinion polls ahead of the 3 March general election, according to research carried out by pollster Kantar Emor.

The survey, conducted on behalf of daily Postimees, puts Reform at 25.7% of support amongst those polled, a rise of 1.2% on previous results from the beginning of February. This means Reform switch places with coalition majority party Centre, who are now in second place on 24.7% by Kantar's rating.

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) remain in third place, though have seen an increase in popularity to 21.3%, up from 18.9% in early February.

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) have conversely seen a fall in popularity of 1.4%, though they remain in third place on 10.1%, with Isamaa still in fourth place at 9.2%, albeit up from 8.6% on the previous ratings.

SDE and Isamaa are the junior coalition parties, Reform and EKRE are in opposition.

Six parties above electoral threshold

The only other parliamentary party is the Free Party, who are languishing at 0.9% according to the survey.

Of the current non-parliamentary parties, newcomer Estonia 200, which is contesting its first ever election, is on 5.6%, down from over 7% at the beginning of the year, and the Estonian Greens are on 2% according to the survey.

Figures for the other relatively newly-formed party, Richness of Life, were not quoted, nor were they for the United Left Party.

The 5% figure is significant as it is the threshold for getting any seats at the Riigikogu at all, under Estonia's d'Hondt system of proportional representation.

Thus if the Kantar Emor results were translated into electoral results, Reform, Centre, EKRE, SDE, Isamaa and Estonia 200 would all get seats, with Reform a few more than Centre.

Two-horse race?

Aivar Voog, survey manager at Kantar Emor, noted that the election in any case is likely to be a very close race between Reform and Centre. Other analysts have suggested a Centre-Reform ''super coalition'' could be on the cards, to the exclusion of all the other parties, who would remain in opposition. Estonian coalition governments in recent years have generally consisted of three parties.

Kantar Emor's survey was compiled over the period 14-20 February, polling 1,181 Estonian citizens online, in the 18-84 age group.

The other major pollster to compile party support data, Turu-uuringute, conducts its research over a somewhat longer time-frame, including via face-to-face questionnaires and with no age limit.

The general election is on 3 March. Advanced voting, including e-voting, started on Thursday.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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