August 7, 2015
The research and communication services center Bridging Europe is strongly embarking into the field of opinion polling in Greece, attempting to cover the widening gap of information with regards to political developments in Greece, the coverage of the Greek crisis, the complex economic and social environment that has been created since January 2015 and the rise in power of left-wing Syriza party. One of the latest polls is presented here in order to further inform the European public on the reaction of Greek citizens over recent developments in Greece.
a. Assessment of the Government Policy
The big majority of the respondents (77%) is not satisfied with the performance of the Greek government so far., while more than 4/5 believes that SYRIZA abandoned the “Thessaloniki Program”, the anti-austerity and pro-social set of actions that the party has set and pledged to implement the day after January elections.
Such feelings of disappointment have been already expressed in our previous, snap opinion polls during the previous weeks, especially after the “No” in the referendum (July 5) and the Euro Summit one week after. The rate remains very high and this is certainly not a good sign for the government, especially after taking into consideration that Greece has a new stage of negotiations starting in August. Alongside, prior actions have been passed through the Parliament, though not yet implemented. As soon as the implementation starts running, negative feelings might intensify.
Similar is the belief on whether the government has capitulated to the demands of the creditors, with 76% of the respondents to say “Yes”. With regards to the internal rupture in SYRIZA, sparked after the voting on the prior actions that are necessary for the launch of the bailout deal talks, both the general public and the party voters are considering this rupture as “bad”. Especially for SYRIZA voters, and in the view of the upcoming interim processes (i.e. Convention of Central Committee; possible extraordinary Congress), this is a clear sign for the leadership and the leading figures to find a solution (or compromise) that will protect the coherence of the party.
B. The Big Dilemmas
The unpredictable and continuous shifts in domestic politics, the tenuous and conflicting negotiations with the creditors/institutions have also affected the feelings of the people with regards to the position of the country in Eurozone. We observe a great partition on Question 6, as it is not clear whether Greeks want to stay of leave Eurozone. In this respect, the most important rate is the 23% of the undecided respondents, a segment that seems to be the one that gets hardly convinced or feeling completely puzzled.
What is more, we observe a rather solid cohesion in the next three questions. Almost 60% believes that Grexit has not been avoided, while 76% believes that Greece is still on the brink of bankruptcy. Uncertainty is clear, and gets even clearer when taking into account the 73% of those stating that even after a third bailout, economic and social conditions in Greece are not going to improve. This is a clear message to the government, but also the result of the general experience on the inefficiency of austerity and recessionary programs that are implemented in Greece since 2010.
Over 1/2 respondents feels disappointed with the non-abolition of ENFIA (i.e. property tax), and 47% overall with the tax labor policy of the government, reflecting the non-increase of income tax threshold to 12.000 euros, and the non-increase of minimum wage. Both topics are crucial for the government, as creditors/institutions have no intention to smooth down over public spending and public income targets, even if such policies negatively affect income flow to the social security funds, and increase transactions in the grey economy.
C. Political Leaders’ Popularity
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is the most popular political leader so far, despite his government shifting towards signing a new bailout deal. New Democracy transitional leader Meimarakis is doing pretty well, ranked after Tsipras in positive opinions. Certain enough, Meimarakis brought “fresh air” in the party, but he also gathers positive views from all respondents regardless of voting/party preferences. The new leader of PASOK Fofi Gennimata and the Communist Party SG Koutsoumbas are not popular, while Golden Dawn Michaloliakos is the least popular.
D. Voting Intention
SYRIZA has the lead, though with decreasing pace, while New Democracy seems to slowly recover. Golden Dawn, The River, the Communist Party and coalition government party Independent Greeks retain forces, while PASOK shrinks further. But the most striking fact is that undecided voters have reached 19,4%, one of the biggest rates since the 1980s. Political rhetoric from all parties will certainly focus on endorsing this segment that seems capable of defining, in case of snap elections, whether the winning party will gather absolute majority or not.
To contact the author Dimitris Rapidis:
Twitter: @rapidisAuthor : Dimitris Rapidis