Ratings special: What’s happening in economy not good for reform support News

The coalition Reform Party had the support of 29 percent of voters in Estonia this month, down from 31 percent of it in August. The opposition Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), meanwhile, saw its support increase on month from 18 to 23 percent, according to the results of a poll commissioned by ERR and conducted by Kantar Emor whose results were published Friday.

Ranked third in popularity was the opposition Center Party, but with their lowest rating yet this year at 14 percent in September.

“This general backdrop, which includes insecurity,” Voog explained. “Everything going on in the economy — rapid inflation, decreasing purchasing power — this isn’t favorable for ruling parties’ support. It gives opposition parties an opportunity, and EKRE has been the most vocal.”

ERR journalist Urmet Kook said should the difficult economic situation persist and prices continue to rise, Reform and EKRE may see equal support within a couple of months.

Co-host and fellow journalist Indrek Kiisler noted that while Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) earned more attention in connection with foreign policy as well during the term of her previous government, Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), the current government’s foreign minister, has been more active in terms of public attention, and been in the picture more than Kallas.

Commenting on Kallas’ extraordinary public address to the country on Thursday night, which was aired live by ETV, Voog said that it is very unlikely that it will have any sort of impact on Reform’s rating.

Voog, Kook and Kiisler likewise took a closer look at the Center Party’s low rating, particularly the historically low rating among Center’s Russian-language voters.

According to September’s poll results, support for the Center Party among Estonia’s Russian-language voters had fallen to just 36 percent. Kook recalled that during the Savisaar era, when founding member Edgar Savisaar still served as party chair, the Center commanded the support of 70-80 percent of Russian-speaking voters.

Voog acknowledged that they have indeed not seen this particular rating figure drop so low before. “Votes have been scattered,” he said. “At the same time, there are also those who can’t decide anymore. These are turbulent times, with voters drifting between various political choices. We may see an increase in passivity.”

Kook noted that the Center Party’s mixed messages regarding the removal of the so-called Narva tank, a Soviet monument outside the city center, in August probably had an impact.

Kiisler, in turn, said that the Soviet monument removals are behind us now, and what lies ahead is the debate over the transition to Estonian-language education.

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