Pollsters in rare agreement ahead of Estonian EU election

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Marina Kaljurand (SDE) remains the most popular candidate.
Marina Kaljurand (SDE) remains the most popular candidate. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The forecasts of Estonian pollsters Turu-uuringute AS, Emor, and Norstat for the 2019 Estonian EU election are identical: all three predict that the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Reform Party will win two seats each, while of the remaining two mandates one will go to the Centre Party, and the other to the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE). The most popular candidate in all three forecasts is Marina Kaljurand (SDE).

According to editor-in-chief of ERR's online news portals, Urmet Kook, this is all the more remarkable as the three companies not only apply different methodologies, but also carried out their polls at different times.

Turu-uuringute AS' poll, commissioned by ERR, ended 11 days before the election. That of Norstat, commissioned by right-wing think tank, the Institute for Societal Studies, ended four days before election day, and that of Emor, commissioned by Postimees Grupp, three days.

Predicted results same, details different

While both Turu-uuringute AS and Norstat have SDE slightly ahead of Reform, Emor thinks the latter will make the race for the most votes. In either case, the result would be the same: the Social Democrats and Reform each will get two mandates.

EKRE has clearly lost ground since the general election on March 3 this year. While just months ago, surveys were promising and indicated two or even three seats, they are now down to 11-12 percent support and just a single mandate.

According to several observers, neither the Centre Party nor EKRE can be absolutely sure about their one mandate. Isamaa's recently intensified campaign, the small difference between EKRE and Isamaa in the ratings, and the statistical margin of error leave open the possibility that they might yet overtake one of the two.

Candidates: Kaljurand, Ansip leading, strange things happening elsewhere

Marina Kaljurand (SDE) remains the most popular candidate with 17-18.6 percent support, depending on the poll (see below). This is giving the party an enormous boost. Paradoxically, it is near impossible to tell who Kaljurand would take with her to Brussels if SDE won two seats, as support for virtually every other SDE candidate has been very low.

Coming in second, according to Emor, is outgoing Vice-President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip (Reform), while Turu-uuringute AS has Yana Toom (Centre) in the same place. In the case of Norstat's survey, Ansip and Toom are close enough to put their rating within the statistical margin of error.

Where Turu-uuringute AS and Norstat both have incumbent MEP Urmas Paet (Reform) at 6 percent, Emor has him neck and neck with independent candidate Raimond Kaljulaid. What is worth pointing out here is that according to all three pollsters, the second Reform candidate to win a seat will Paet, and not former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas.

Incumbent MEP Igor Gräzin, running on Centre's list despite not being a party member, is at 4 percent support. Gräzin's case is somewhat curious, as he entered the European Parliament as a member of the Reform Party, replacing chairwoman Kaja Kallas. He has since left the party.

Both Gräzin and Isamaa candidate, former commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras, would likely have had a chance to win the seventh seat Estonia would have been given had the United Kingdom left the EU on March 29. But while Terras might still stand a chance if Isamaa manages to beat EKRE, Gräzin is likely to be out of work come Monday morning.

EKRE is another interesting anomaly, namely in that both list leaders, Mart and Martin Helme, don't stand a chance to get elected, while things are looking up for the list's very last candidate, Jaak Madison, even though there are sizeable differences between pollsters' forecast votes.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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