A poll taken just before Eurozone finance ministers agreed on a deal to release $56.7 billion in new bailout loans to Greece over the next few months showed that the lingering recession and austerity have given the major opposition party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) a growing lead.
The poll was conducted by the Marc polling agency Nov. 23-26 using a sample of 1,011 respondents.
SYRIZA has the support of 23 percent of Greeks, while Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives are at 20.8 percent as the poll showed growing pessimism over the state of the economy.
The survey aired by the privately-owned Alpha television channel also showed that few Greeks, just 29.1%, want new elections to be called while most, 64.5%, prefer that the ruling coalition, which includes the fading PASOK Socialist and tiny Democratic Left, serve out a full four-year term to give the country some stability.
PASOK, which in 2009 won the elections with 44 percent of the vote, is vanishing, falling to only 5.1 percent under new leader Evangelos Venizelos, while the Democratic Left is at 4.8 percent, although another poll put them at 3.5 percent, barely above the 3 percent level needed to win seats in Parliament.
The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party remains the third most popular party, with 9.8% support. However, slightly more than a fifth of voters said they were undecided or wouldn’t cast a ballot.
The poll also showed that only 20.3 percent of Greeks expect a recovery in the next five years. Some 15.9% of Greeks said they expect a recovery by 2020, and 24.8% said a recovery won’t happen until some time after that. Samaras declared after the news that another bailout would be coming that Greece has turned a corner and would recover sooner than estimated.
Only 10.9% thought a recovery would come in the next two years and almost two-thirds of Greeks, 60.2%, said they thought it likely they would lose their jobs in the next 12 months.
At the same time, Greeks were divided over whether the country would be able to avoid a default that would catapult the country out of the euro zone and force a return to the old currency, the drachma. According to the poll, 47.5% of respondents thought Greece would remain in the Eurozone, versus 45.8% who thought it wouldn’t.