NEWS

ND lead is confirmed by 3 new polls

Two new polls whose results were published over the weekend show the conservative opposition New Democracy party leading the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) by 7.8 to 8.4 percentage points in voting intentions. A third survey, conducted only in the central Athens constituency, showed ND with a double-digit lead. The two nationwide polls showed little difference in public preference for either Prime Minister Costas Simitis or his challenger, Costas Karamanlis. About a third of the respondents prefer neither as prime minister. TV station Alpha revealed Saturday a poll by opinion research firm ALKO, which showed New Democracy leading PASOK by 39.5 to 31.1 percent. Two other parties, the Communist Party (5 percent) and the Synaspismos Coalition (3.1 percent) exceed the 3 percent threshold to get into Parliament. The number of undecided voters is 11.6 percent. Asked about who is best fit to be prime minister, the respondents to the ALKO poll give a slight preference to Karamanlis (33.7 percent) over Simitis (32.3 percent). A more detailed poll, by Kapa Research, was published yesterday in To Vima newspaper. It shows New Democracy leading PASOK 39.5 to 31.7 percent. The Communists and Synaspismos follow, with 5.3 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Undecided voters are 11.7 percent. This poll gives a slight lead to Simitis (37.3 percent) over Karamanlis (36.2 percent) as the fittest person to be PM. Other questions show that voters acknowledge the government’s success in foreign policy and still trust it more with the big public projects and staging next year’s Olympics. The government’s weak points are the economy, health, education and corruption. The poll of central Athens, published yesterday in Eleftherotypia newspaper, also shows that, while ND voters are generally satisfied with their party, more than one in three PASOK voters think their party has changed for the worse. «Nothing has been decided yet. We have 10 months until elections, 10 months of creative effort (that will show) concrete results,» PASOK’s general secretary, Costas Laliotis, said yesterday.