NEWS

Two days before elections, final poll gives ND 7-point lead

STAVROS PAPANTONIOU

TAGS: Politics, Elections

Main opposition New Democracy maintains a seven-point lead over ruling SYRIZA according to the final opinion poll by Pulse on behalf of Skai TV ahead of Sunday's European Parliament elections.

More specifically, the poll projected that Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservatives would garner 31 percent of the vote against 24 percent for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist SYRIZA – both increasing their respective shares compared to the previous Pulse survey in April.

The number of undecided voters was at 7.5 percent, five points down compared to last month.

The poll also indicated that the battle for third place between the centrist Movement for Change (KINAL) and neo-Nazi Golden Dawn will go down to the wire. They are expected to get 7 and 6.5 percent respectively.

Communist party KKE was in fifth with 5.5 percent and is expected to be the fifth Greek party to secure a presence in the European Parliament. 

Pro-Russia ultra-nationalists Greek Solution are set to earn 2.1 percent, ahead of the Union of Centrists (1.9 percent), To Potami (1.7 percent) and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ MeRA25 (1.6 percent). Former government coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) is expected to get 1.4 percent. 

The survey was conducted by phone on May 21-22 on a sample of 1,208 people with the right to vote. 

With the poll suggesting that both SYRIZA and ND are rallying their respective party bases, Tsipras will seek to build on the momentum in his final speech Friday at Syntagma Square in central Athens. 

The PM’s aides are reportedly confident that the leftist party will be able to bridge the gap with the conservatives, citing the belief that most undecided voters will swing to SYRIZA.

Moreover, the government, and Tsipras in particular, has targeted the 528,000 voters aged between 17 and 21 that will cast their ballots for the first time. Tsipras has not stopped reminding his audiences that he was the one to initiate the lowering of the voting age to 17. 

The government has also painstakingly tried to tap the middle class, which along with the working class has borne the brunt of Greece’s decade-long financial crisis.

Tsipras has sought to entice this disillusioned segment of the population with a recent barrage of benefits and handouts and by highlighting the situation the country faced in 2010-14 before it rose to power.

But pundits reckon that the government’s resorting to 11th hour handouts will do little to erase the four years of harsh austerity overseen by the SYRIZA government.

A main concern for the government will be the extent of the damage it will incur due to the strong opposition in northern Greece to the North Macedonia name deal ratified earlier this year. In a rally this week in Thessalonki, Tsipras said the deal put an end to the effort by Greece’s northern neighbor to “own our history.”  

For his part, Mitsotakis appeared to be brimming with confidence on Thursday, insisting that the conservatives will secure a “clear victory” that will serve as a first step for political change in the country.

Speaking to Skai TV on Thursday, Mitsotakis said that defeat for the government on Sunday will take away from its legitimacy over the remaining four months of its term in office.

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