Bloomberg News

Support for Papandreou Drops Before Austerity Vote, Poll Shows

October 13, 2011

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Support for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s party fell below 20 percent amid daily protests and strikes against plans to cut wages and layoff state workers, according to a research poll.

The Pasok party led by Papandreou had the support of 19.5 percent of likely voters, a drop of 5 percentage points from the month before, the poll, conducted by researcher VPRC for Epikaira magazine, showed. Support for the main opposition New Democracy party rose 1 percentage point to 31 percent. The Communist Party of Greece was third with 13.5 percent, a gain of half a percentage point. Thirty six percent of the 800 people surveyed said they would abstain from voting.

Papandreou’s government introduced measures to plug Greece’s budget gap for 2011 and 2012, including a new property tax approved by parliament on Sept. 27. Greece’s Parliament is expected to vote on plans to cut state wages and pensions and dismiss 30,000 civil servants next week.

European Union and International Monetary Fund officials indicated Oct. 11 Greece will qualify for an 8 billion-euro ($11 billion) loan next month, part of a 110 billion-euro bailout to help avert the country from defaulting.

Papandreou was the least popular party leader in the Greek parliament with a 76 percent disapproval rating while New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras had a negative rating of 63 percent, the poll showed.

Nearly half of voters, 48 percent, said elections should be held immediately while 13 percent said Papandreou had a mandate to implement his plan of austerity measures to meet conditions for international loans. Fifty-three percent said they disagreed with the government’s plan to dismiss 30,000 state workers and 60 percent said they were likely to attend an anti-austerity demonstration in the near future.

When asked what composition the government should have, 8.6 percent of respondents preferred a coalition between Pasok and New Democracy while 13.1 percent favored a coalition of left- leaning parties and 4.8 percent said a New Democracy majority. About 3.5 percent of those polled said they preferred a Pasok majority and 47.4 percent said neither of the compositions was acceptable.

The survey was conducted from Oct. 6-10 and the poll has a margin of error of 3.54 percentage points.

--Editors: Tim Farrand, Rodney Jefferson

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net


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