Support for the gov. continues to fall

Joosep Värk
, reporter
Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.
Photo: Robin Roots / Õhtuleht

The combined rating of ruling parties fell below 40 percent for the second consecutive month in February. The gap between the two most popular parties, Reform Party and Center Party, remains at more than ten points. The Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) looks secure in third place.

The February poll ordered by Postimees and carried out by Kantar Emor shows the Reform Party repeating its result from January (34 percent).

The last time the party managed to keep its rating above 30 percent for at least two months was in June and July of 2014, courtesy of its European Parliament elections campaign.

The Center Party came in second in February (21 percent) and has hovered around the 20 percent mark for the past three months. Their support was on a similar level for so long also in 2015 and 2016.

Political scientist Tõnis Saarts said that the two parties have traditionally been more popular than others in Estonia, with support regularly staying above the 20 percent line. “The question now is will the Reform Party manage to open up a solid lead and perhaps win the 2019 parliamentary elections or will the parties be neck and neck,” he said.

While EKRE lost a point in February month-over-month, the party remains secure in third place (17 percent).

The rating of the Social Democrat Party (SDE) has remained around 11 percent in the first months of the year. Only the Free Party and IRL managed to gain a few points in February. The Free Party grew its support from five percent to seven and IRL from five to six.

Government parties have 38 percent of the vote between them, two points up from January. Support for the government had previously remained around 40 percent and even reached 50 percent in October.

Saarts said that minority coalition partners SDE and IRL have seen weak results in the polls in recent months which should give them cause for concern a year before parliamentary elections. “It is another question whether electing a new chairman would benefit SDE or breaking up the coalition IRL,” he said.

Saarts added that he is not convinced altering the coalition would benefit IRL as it has lost the most voters to EKRE and would have a hard time getting them back.

“The social democrats have lost points due to unsuccessful PR as they are primarily associated with the government’s unpopular policies, whether we’re talking about alcohol excise duty hikes, a more complicated income tax system etc. Replacing the chairman could deliver a positive impulse; however, it would no be a magic wand to take the party’s rating soaring above 20 percent,” he said.

Kantar Emor questioned 916 citizens with the right to vote between the ages of 18 and 74 in February 14-21 of whom 28 percent did not have a clear preference. The relative importance of undecided people was the same in December and January after having remained around 22 percent previously.