Almost all the public opinion polls in the runup to Sunday’s snap election see New Democracy beating SYRIZA by a margin of 8-10 percentage points. No polling company dares stray from this prediction after the debacle of hugely mistaken estimations made by some as regards the government’s performance in the European elections.
To a certain degree these results justify the satisfaction of anti-SYRIZA voters on the right of the political spectrum, or others who have decided to give their vote to New Democracy this once, “just to get these guys out.” They may be getting ahead of themselves, though, as there is really no saying what any ballot will bring. Given the overwhelming consensus of pollsters, however, we can assume that New Democracy and Kyriakos Mitsotakis will win on Sunday. An outright victory is also very likely. But that’s it.
Meanwhile, those who – encouraged by the results of May’s elections for the European Parliament – are looking forward to a crushing defeat for SYRIZA should probably not pop the champagne just yet. The reason is that the same polls that foresee ND winning by an 8-10 percent margin also see SYRIZA performing better than it did in May and earning between 26 and 28 percent of the vote.
In short, after all the despicable things this government has done under the leadership and guidance of Alexis Tsipras (there should be no doubt on this point), it will not bode well for the country’s future if, say, ND gets 40 percent and SYRIZA gets around 30 percent. This would make the leftists the absolutely unchallenged opposition and would strengthen Tsipras’ position beyond any possible reproach from detractors in the leftist camp. He would even be able to gloat about not suffering a real defeat.
The fact is that Tsipras has come to terms with the idea of defeat, though this time he appears to trust the same opinion polls he once maligned. This is what drives his threats to the opposition that it hasn’t seen the last of the “Left” just yet (he is by no means a real leftist, of course; he just says so in order to attract votes). He is also keeping his cards very close to his chest as regards what style of opposition he plans to adopt – basically whether he will restrict himself to systemic opposition in Parliament or if he will take to the streets again. In either case, the next government will be much more comfortable if the opposition drops to below 24 percent compared with if it rises to 28 percent.
What is certain is that Tsipras will not tolerate accept any leadership challenges and he has already made it clear that he has no intention of apologizing. Come what may, he plans to maintain his hold over his party.