ATHENS – A once 17-point lead over the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA by the major opposition New Democracy has been nearly cut in half, down to only 9.5 percent in a survey by the company Pulse for SKAI.
The poll gave New Democracy 28.5 percent to 19 percent for Tsipras, whose popularity had been as low as 10 percent after reneging on anti-austerity promises before he started handing out holiday bonuses to low-income pensioners and jobless youth and started hiring thousands of people and party loyalists despite the country’s ongoing crushing economic crisis.
Tied for third at 7 percent were the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and the new center-left coalition Movement for Change, led by the former PASOK Socialists who went defunct after backing austerity measures – as has Tsipras who blamed them and New Democracy for imposing brutal conditions although all sides said they had no choice.
Fifth was the KKE Communists at their usual level of about 5.5 percent but there was bad news for Tsipras’ junior coalition partner the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) which registered only 1.5 percent, far below the 3 percent threshold needed to get back into Parliament.
Asked their choice for Prime Minister, 32 percent picked New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis but Tsipras got 22 percent, showing some hard core support remains even after he broke almost every promise to help workers, pensioners and the poor, hammering them with tax hikes, new taxes, and slashed pensions while reneging on pledges to put a 75 percent tax on the rich, crush the oligarchy and hunt down tax cheats.
Elections are not scheduled until next year when, under law, they must be held by April but 34 percent of respondents said they think snap polls will be held this year while 53 percent said it will be in 2019, and 56 percent believe New Democracy will win.