Among a wave of dissent and rising opposition, a new survey paints a rather different picture, showing people remaining largely in support of the current Greek government, believing that it will not enforce additional austerity and putting the blame to the German government creditors, for the recent impasse of the bailout program talks.
Issued by ‘Bridging Europe’, a non-partisan international think-tank and communication center committed to advance youth leadership in policy-making, the survey came at a time talks on the conclusion of the second review of the Greek bailout have stalled. Though Greek economy largely depends on the bailout conclusion, participants do not hold the Greek government – nor the IMF – responsible, putting the blame to the German Government’s severe stance, by an overhelming 67 per cent.
According to the same survey (which was conducted between January 31 and February 3, 2017, via telephone interviews and online questionnaire, among 1159 respondents, throughout Greece, proportionally distributed the country’s 13 regions), almost half of the citizens (48 percent) do not believe that the Syriza government will further recede to the creditors’ demands for more austerity, with 30 percent stating they believe that more austerity measures are in order.
A rather significant 44 per cent are optimistic on the future of the Greek economy, stating that in 2018 the country will be able to exit austerity and see an end to the tough fiscal programme implemented for seven years (i.e. eight after conclusion of current bailout). Nonetheless, 33 percent of respondents does not share this view, while a critical 23 percent remains undecided.
The survey also touches on the recently reopened discussion on currency. According to the survey, only one in four (26 percent) believes that the currency is at the heart of the country’s financial problems, stating the economic policy implemented as the main cause, by an overwhelming 71 percent.
In its evaluation of the Greek Government respondents seemed divided. When asked about the Government’s handling of the consolidation program 38 percent view it as positive (and 11 percent as very positive), while 27 percent views it negatively (and 19 percent is very negative). Equally, the Government’s work on other areas of public policy affecting citizens’ daily lives, is deemed as positive by 48 percent, while 42 percent denies that positive steps have been taken. 44% believe that the government’s first priority should be to tackle unemployment, while 32 percent prioritise the lift of capital controls and 20% point to the decreasing taxation.
The role of opposition parties and their contribution to drag the economy and the society outside the crisis is truly disappointing. 66 per cent of respondents is standing “very negatively” or “negatively” as regards opposition parties stance in domestic politics, whereas 70 percent does not ascribe any positive role on them.
After this, it comes as no surprise that, asked on the scenario of snap elections, these are deemed as unnecessary by an overwhelming majority of 66percent. Should such an event occur, Syriza could still win, as support over the party remains high with 20.1 percent, the lowest so far, but still ahead of the opposition party, Nea Dimokratia, which ranks second with 18.5 percent. The communist party, KKE, ranks third with 6.9 percent, followed by the nazi Golden Dawn (6.2 percent), Pasok’s Democratic Alliance (4.5 percent) and the government’s partners, the far-right Independent Greeks risking entry to the Parliament with 3.2 percent. The most alarming finding of the survey is the overwhelming percentage of undecided voters, which ranks higher than any party with 30.7 percent. The undecided voters group has not been this high for the past couple of years, presenting itself as a challenge for all parties on the spectrum.
To that end, popularity of PM Alexis Tsipras is noteworthy, especially when compared to his major opponent, ND party head Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who falls short of what his supporters and inner circle would possibly expect. Tsipras is viewed negatively by 30 percent of respondents (with 29 percent in favor). By comparison, all other political leaders are viewed negatively by more than 40 percent; especially Mitsotakis is seen negatively by 47 percent (with 11 percent in favor).