Nationwide Survey in Greece: Referendum in Turkey and presidential elections in France
Survey and Analysis of Results
Analysis by John D. Papadopoulos, Mario Schmidt and Alberto Paez
This survey focuses on the perception of Greeks over two major events: the Turkish referendum on constitutional reform, and the upcoming presidential elections in France. Unlike previous studies, where we have emphasized on domestic politics, this time we attempt to explore the opinion of the Greek electorate on issues that go beyond the sphere of national politics, but in a direct or indirect way affecting bilateral relations (i.e Turkey) and internal balances in EU and Eurozone (i.e France).
A. Deep concerns over Erdogan's rule
More than half of the respondents do not see any positive shift in Turkey's belligerent approach in the Aegean Sea even after the successful - for AKP and President Erdogan- result of the referendum. Almost one third is not certain whether the Turkish government will keep deteriorating bilateral relations with Greece. In this respect, there is a significant part of the society (i.e mostly the most educated part and the one positioning itself in the centre-left and left side of the political spectrum, according to our data) that is developing a more mild approach vis-à-vis Turkey.
On the coming actions that President Erdogan could possibly assume after the referendum, almost 60% sees the intention of Erdogan to extend grip over the military and the judicial corps, a policy that is consistent with what AKP government has been developing since 2012. Similarly goes with the tenuous situation in the Aegean Sea, as 28% considers that a possible escalation might occur. It is also important to point out that 20% believes that the purge against HDP will continue or even intensify - i.e again 3/4 of it is identified as "leftist" or "socialist".
As of the capacity of opposition parties to challenge the ruling AKP and affect the political agenda of the President, 1/2 believes that this is impossible.
B. Mélenchon goes against the odds
The presidential race in France has become highly unpredictable during the last couple of weeks, after Mélenchon's surge in polls. While before reaching that point, there were discussions on whether the candidate of France Insoumise should ally with socialist candidate Benoit Hamon to create a common front, now the situation has been reversed in favour of Mélenchon.
In all possible couples for the second round, except for the match with Emmanuel Macron, the left-wing veteran has the lead. Fillon loses from all candidates except for Le Pen, but this scenario, according to the majority of French pollsters, seems the least possible.
On the reasons explaining Mélenchon's surge in polls, opinions are diverge. Most importantly, 1/4 of Greeks considers his rhetoric, combining different political features, as the main reason for his being competitive. Another 29% explain his popularity as a proof of the absence of convincing candidates, with all three offering no alternative political vision. There is also a worth mentioning part -22%- that believes Mélenchon's ideas can shift politics in France.
These elections are also showing the end of bipartisanship in French politics, mainly as the result of Socialist's Party divisions. Hamon has not been unanimously endorsed by important figures of the party, whereas the track record of former President Holland has severely damaged the party and deeply disappointed its supporters. In addition to that, an overwhelming majority considers that the fall of the Socialist Party - and to a large extent the stability of the conservative party- has been caused by the fact that the former was attached into the same ideological and political agenda, thus adopting the neoliberal politics.
All things considered, this year's presidential race brings up some important facts about domestic politics in France: A large part has been either identified with the two different and discernible pillars -the left and the far-right- whereas the other two candidates, i.e. Macron and Fillon- seem to present two different sides of the same coin. Macron is a tabula rasa for the majority of voters, regardless of their political affiliation, coming closer to the political-banking establishment, whereas Fillon represents the continuation of the same regime as demonstrated by both Hollande and Sakrozy's political agenda.
Survey ID: Nationwide Poll on the Turkish Referendum and the French Presidential Elections. Period of data collection and method: April 17-20, 2017 via telephone interviews and online questionnaire. Sampling size and geographical distribution: 1130 respondents, nationally, proportional distribution throughout country's 13 regions. Sample characteristics: Representative, men and women, 18 years old and over. Sampling method: Multistage sampling using quotas with respect to geographical distribution, gender, and age of population. Standard error: +/-2,5% at the 95% confidence interval.
April 22, 2017