Survey: Majority of Estonians happy with President Kersti Kaljulaid

Seven out of ten Estonians think President Kersti Kaljulaid has done well in her first year, a survey commissioned by daily Postimees and BNS shows.

Pollster Kantar Emor interviewed 1,200 Estonians between the age of 15 and 74 for the survey. 72.5 percent of respondents found that Kaljulaid had done well or very well as president in her first year, Postimees wrote on Friday.

Only 27.5 percent of respondents found she had done badly or very badly.

Estonians and the younger respondents tend to support Kaljulaid, while a majority of respondents who identified as nationalist conservatives thought she hadn’t done well.

Aivar Voog, survey manager at Kantar Emor, pointed out that other presidents had started out with much lower approval ratings than Kaljulaid’s at the time she was elected. One had actually become legendary: when Lennart Meri started as president in 1992, just 32 percent of the population supported him. By May 1995, that indicator had risen to the same level that the current head of state has now.

Political observer Ott Lumi said that this was just the beginning of Kaljulaid’s rise. “The European Union presidency theme suits her, as her competency is with European politics. The media has been generous toward her, and she has not really given them a reason to attack her.” Though opinions would probably polarize over time, Lumi said.

He also highlighted that before assuming office, Kaljulaid had been relatively unfamiliar to the public. “In addition, she also got into office with a relatively wide consensus, and that is a very important aspect. All political powers apart from the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) have backed her,” he said.

Kaljulaid had the support of 73 percent of residents in October 2016. This is comparable to the support Arnold Rüütel had after his election in October 2001, when 74 percent supported him, as well as Toomas Hendrik Ilves in October 2006, who had 71 percent support.

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