Reform retains lead despite rating decline

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Photo: Sander Ilvest

The opposition Estonian Reform Party has retained its almost ten percentage point lead over the Center Party, senior member of the ruling three-party coalition, despite a four percentage point drop in its rating, it appears from the outcome of a poll taken by Kantar Emor for BNS and Postimees earlier this month.

Reform was the choice of 30 percent of respondents having a political preference if elections were held tomorrow, Center was the choice of 21.6 percent, the opposition Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) of 19.1 and the ruling coalition member Social Democratic Party (SDE) of 10.6 percent. Greens had upped their rating to 6.1 percent, while the opposition Free Party and ruling coalition member Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) were neck and neck at 5.8 percent.

"The Reform Party firmly holds the lead with 30 percent, even though their support has declined somewhat, apparently as a result of electors with more random preferences changing mind. In a breakdown by socio-demographics, a decline has occurred mainly among men and under 35-year-olds," said Aivar Voog, survey manager at Kantar Emor.

"EKRE, which has crossed the 19 percent mark for the first time, is coming closer to the Center Party, which is in second place. They are supported mostly by residents of small towns and rural settlements," Voog added.

"The Greens emerging at a level of 6 percent is exceptional, the last time they were on that level was more than seven years ago. The next elections will indeed show whether this is a random fluctuation or something that is here for a longer term. The rating of the Greens is higher than average among ethnic Estonians, Tallinners, more well-off respondents, as well as among pupils and students," the survey manager said.

He pointed out that the aggregate rating of the three parties of the ruling coalition -- Center, SDE and IRL -- is lower than 40 percent for the fourth month running. The parties of the ruling coalition are supported mainly by non-ethnic Estonians, Tallinners, women, and pensioners," Voog said.

The aggregate rating of the three government parties in April -- 38 percent -- was 0.5 percentage points lower than in March. As recently as in December it was 44.5 percent.

The aggregate rating of the three opposition parties was 60.7 percent.

The Estonian Independence Party was the choice of 1 percent and People's Unity Party of 0.2 percent.

The percentage of respondents who could not name their political preference was 27 percent in April. The answers of the people who listed "no preference" as to party identification were eliminated from the outcome to make it as comparable as possible to the outcome of a parliamentary election.

The survey was conducted by Kantar Emor by means of interviewing 908 citizens aged 18-74 online from Apr. 12 to 18.