The findings of two public opinion polls published in as many days are depressing for those who believe that the coalition of leftist SYRIZA with right-wing Independent Greeks is problematic and damaging for the country.
One was by Metron Analysis for Vima’s Sunday edition and the other was by Alco for Monday’s Ethnos, and both found that the distance between conservative New Democracy and ruling SYRIZA is shrinking. However, answers regarding the name talks with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Novartis affair also confirmed a pattern exposed by the 2015 referendum over whether Greece should sign a new bailout in order to stay in the eurozone – where 61.3 percent voted “No” and 38.7 percent “Yes.” The answers revealed aspects of the Greek mentality that will prevent the country from adapting to the modern world unless it changes.
Skeptics will argue that public opinion polls are nothing more than a snapshot of the moment during which they are conducted and not indicative of actual outcomes. This is pure sophistry used by pollsters against the likelihood of their projections being proved false.
Judging by the answers in this case, both polls show that the coalition partners continue to be skilled at gauging public opinion. On the one hand, the Metron Analysis survey sees the government gaining from the Novartis case despite its apparent manipulation of the affair and losing on the name talks, where it has adopted a reasonable attitude. In the Alco poll, on the other, the majority of respondents applaud the government’s handling of the Novartis case and basically believe the politicians named in the prosecutors’ report are guilty.
These findings are not surprising. This writer has repeatedly stressed the value of the referendum outcome, which remains relatively unchanged today if interpreted as indicating voter intention. So, encouraged by the outcome of these polls and others that may not have been made public, the government will continue to persist with its policy of extreme division, mudslinging and clientelism, disregarding the fact that this will only strengthen neo-Nazi Golden Dawn’s position as the country’s third party. This may only be reflected in public opinion polls today, but it is very likely to also be the case at the ballot box when the next elections are held.
Of course, no one can predict what will happen until the next elections – how the economy will fare, what will become of the Novartis case, how the name talks will end and developments regarding Turkey. It is also impossible to tell yet what implications the resignation of Alternate Social Solidarity Minister Rania Antonopoulou will have for the government. The signs so far, though, are not good and the simple fact is that people do not change without constant guidance and the right conditions.