The inclusion of lists of actual candidates currently running for election to the European Parliament had a significant impact on party rankings in a recent poll — Marina Kaljurand's personal popularity boosted that of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) to outstrip the Reform Party and the Centre Party alike, indicating that the SDE could walk away from the current elections with two of Estonia's six mandates.
Commissioned by ERR, Turu-uuringute AS has polled people regarding their preferences in the European Parliament elections since the beginning of 2019. While respondents were only provided with a list of political parties through April, May's survey included the full list of over 60 candidates running for election for the first time, allowing respondents to choose a specific candidate.
Another significant change compared to previous polls is that in May, omnibus surveys conducted in person in respondents' homes were joined by online surveys. The results below reflect the aggregate results of these two types of polls.
It was the inclusion of candidate names that brought with it significant changes in support to the SDE, but also in support to the Reform Party. Marina Kaljurand as a candidate boosted the popularity of the Social Democrats to the top, and quite likely largely at the expense of the Reform Party.
SDE most popular
According to the results of the survey commissioned by ERR and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS, a total of 23 percent of respondents promised to vote for an SDE candidate in the European Parliament elections (omnibus 24, web 23 percent).
In the survey reflecting the names of actual candidates, support for the previously leading Reform party dropped to 20 percent (omnibus 18, web 21 percent).
The Centre Party ranked third overall with the support of 19 percent (omnibus 22, web 17 percent).
According to the latest results, 11 percent of respondents would vote for Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) candidates (omnibus 11, web 12 percent), 9 percent would vote for Isamaa (omnibus 10, web 9 percent), and another 6 percent would vote for Estonia 200 (omnibus 5, web 6 percent).
The Estonian Greens had the combined support of 3 percent, the Richness of Life Party (ERE) 1 percent and independent candidates 8 percent of respondents (including 6 percent for ex-Centre member Raimond Kaljulaid).
Were mandates distributed according to support as polled, the Social Democrats and the Reform Party would each earn two of six of Estonia's seats in the European Parliament, leaving one seat each to Centre and EKRE. Were Estonia to gain a seventh mandate, it would either also go to the Centre Party or go to Isamaa.
Kaljurand, Toom, Ansip most popular candidates
Broken down by candidate, Social Democrat Marina Kaljurand polled as the most popular candidate from Estonia, with the support of 18 percent of respondents. Kaljurand was followed by Centre Party incumbent MEP Yana Toom with 10 percent support, and current Vice-President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip of the Reform Party with 8 percent support.
Incumbent Reform MEP Urmas Paet had the support of 6 percent of respondents, as did independent candidate Raimond Kaljulaid.
Independent Igor Gräzin, who is running for election on Centre's list, was supported by 4 percent, and EKRE candidates Jaak Madison and Mart Helme as well as Isamaa's Riho Terras were supported by 3 percent of respondents.
Forecast voter turnout
Last month, a total of 35 percent of voters indicated they would definitely vote in the 2019 European Parliament elections in May, while another 33 percent indicated they would most likely vote. The results of May's omnibus survey indicated similar interest levels, with 39 percent promising to definitely vote and 27 percent indicating they would most likely vote.
According to aggregate omnibus and web survey results, however, a total of 46 percent of respondents indicated this month that they would definitely vote, while another 27 percent would most likely vote.
Turu-uuringute AS conducted the ERR-commissioned omnibus survey from May 2-15, polling a total of 1,010 respondents; its online survey was conducted from May 9-14, and included 1,027 respondents. Pre-election debates and current events (such as a no-confidence vote against Minister of the Interior Mart Helme) may still affect the final outcome of the election.
There are currently 751 seats in the European Parliament, six of which will go to Estonia. Should the U.K. exit the EU, the number of MEPs will be reduced to 705, and Estonia will gain a seventh seat in the European Parliament.
Editor: Aili Vahtla