Nationwide Survey on Political and Economic Developments in Greece
Survey and Analysis of Results
Analysis by John D. Papadopoulos and Mario Schmidt
Our latest survey on political and economic developments in Greece sums up a quite interesting image on a number of major issues. Timing always matter, and given that the Thessaloniki International Fair has gathered the attention of domestic media, this survey is published after both leaders -i.e. the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and head of front opposition party Kyriakos Mitsotakis- have presented their proposals and developed their plans for the coming period.
A. Comparison between Alexis Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Each year, in Thessaloniki International Fair, political leaders present their strategy and develop their plans. This time, unlike last year, there are no upcoming elections in Greece, meaning that all leaders perform in a rather constrained way, lowering expectations of the public on what they should wait for the day after elections. ND leader K. Mitsotakis was seen by 44% as the one who has resorted more to pledging. Another 30% saw PM Tsipras having done so, with 26% to avoid choosing one of the two leaders or being uncertain.
As our previous survey has similarly concluded, an overwhelming majority (75%) agrees with PM Tsipras's proposal to distribute income from TV licenses tender to vulnerable social groups, with only 20% standing negatively to such an option.
Wide public support on that issue facilitates the reformist actions of the government and put at difficult position the front opposition party and its leader that have repeatedly stated that the amount collected will be given back to media holders as soon as they come in power. 71% disagrees with this proposal / intention of ND party, with only 26% seeing this move positively.
All of our previous surveys during 2016 have unveiled low support of the electorate when the question of snap elections was risen up. Since his first day on mandate, ND party leader Mitsotakis has been asking for snap elections. During Thessaloniki International Fair 2016 he -once again- repeated his demand for snap elections, insisting that the government is destroying the country and the domestic economy. Still, only 31% of the respondents endorse his claim, with the majority (55%) standing against this option.
To remind our readers, in 2015, Greece passed through a triple electoral process, starting with snap elections in January 2015, moving on to referendum during negotiations with creditors in July 2015, ending up to another round of snap elections in late September. With only one year running the government, and with one year detached from political instability, the electorate seems unwilling to enter another period of uncertainty, already that ongoing negotiations with the creditors are taking place in a three-month basis, coupled with continuous reviews over the efficiency of the implementation of the bailout programme.
B. 2nd Review of Bailout Deal and Negotiations on Greek Public Debt
In this respect, 51% of Greeks believe that should any delay occur towards concluding with the second review of the bailout programme, creditors will be held responsible for that rather than the Greek government.
On the negotiations over the reprofiling Greek public debt and the effort to turn it sustainable, feelings are mixed. Almost an equal share of people stand in favor and against a final solution, based on what has been agreed last May between the Greek government and the creditors, with 27% finding it hard to have a clear opinion. Apparently, Greeks acknowledge the fragile balances within Eurozone on that major issue that not only touches on the Greek case, but also in the EU level and its decision-making institutions.
C. Foreign Policy
The initiative of PM Tsipras to invite leaders of the European South in Athens has been strongly endorsed by the electorate, said to have improved the image of the country abroad. On the contrary, it seems that only 1/3 believes that the country is in better position today compared to three years ago, with almost another 1/3 believing that it is in the exactly same position. 21% assesses Greece being in worse position, something that, taking into account the popularity of the other options, has to instill concerns in the domestic -and European- leadership.
Needless to say that, as our previous surveys show, Greeks acknowledge the efforts and progress that has been made by the current government on many aspects of public policy, but they still have deep concerns on the structural dilemmas and questions surrounding the implementation of this specific mix of economic policy and, further, the imposition of austerity politics in Greece and the EU.
Connecting both issues -i.e. support over PM Tsipras's goal to play an energetic role in EU politics as well as the weak perception of the country's positioning inside Europe and the EU- people still hope that things can change and another policy model could substitute the destructive and myopic austerity that has severely damaged the society and the domestic economy.
E. Voting Intention
Syriza's resilience is noteworthy. Despite continuous pressure by the opposition and the creditors, the governing party keeps leading in the polls, with front opposition ND failing to capitalize any grievances occurred by the implementation of the economic policy. ND party cannot draw support among the ranks of undecided voters.
Golden Dawn party comes neck-to-neck with the Communist Party for the third place, with the latter slightly improving its appeal. To Potami falls short on recovering from weak rhetoric and unconvincing presence in the public debate, while PASOK is wandering around 5%. Government coalition party Independent Greeks passes the threshold, keeping its supporters vigilant.
Union of Centrists weakens steadily, whereas left-wing parties like Popular Unity and Road to Freedom (led by Zoe Konstantopoulou) secure their chances to pass the threshold.
For another time, undecided voters capture more than 1/4 of the electorate, stimulating all parties to work harder if they want to convince them and take their share from this big pool of voters.
September 27, 2016