As Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras readies to see if Parliament next week will back his $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan for 2013-14 that has given rise to social unrest, his party remains in second place in new polls that show his opposition, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in first place.
SYRIZA, led by anti-bailout champion Alexis Tsipras, maintains its 25.5% standing of would-be voters in a survey by the Pulse Rc polling institute for satirical magazine To Pontiki (The Mouse.) New Democracy has 22 percent, followed by the surging Golden Dawn party at 11.5 percent, the falling PASOK Socialists tied for fourth at 6.5 percent with the Independent Greeks, the Communists at 5 percent and the Democratic Left at 4 percent, only one percent above the threshhold needed to win seats in Parliament if the government doesn’t stand and new elections are held.
PASOK and the Democratic Left are coalition partners in Samaras’ government and paying a big price for backing more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions that they vowed to resist before the June 17 elections, promises they have reneged on and for which voters have reminded them. With their support falling, they are re-thinking their support for the Samaras austerity plan that is set to be voted on Nov. 7, the second day of a 48-hour general strike called by labor unions to protest the measures.
Ironically, Samaras is the choice of 28 percent to be Prime Minister, which couldn’t happen if his party lost, while Tsipras gets the nod from only 23 percent, another of the many contradictions in Greek polls. Even worse for the political parties, 45 percent of those surveyed said neither was a good choice. And while New Democracy’s support is falling, 71 percent of Greek said they are satisfied with the government even though they wouldn’t vote for the Conservatives again. And despite its lead in the polls, most Greeks said they do no like SYRIZA’s policies.