Answers, not talk

A recent public opinion poll on trends conducted by MRB surveyed attitudes to politics in general and the parties on offer in particular. To the question «How are things going in general in Greece?» 60.4 percent of the sample answered, «Very badly,» 27.1 percent said, «Neither well nor badly,» and only 12.2 percent expressed complete satisfaction. The percentage of dissatisfied PASOK voters was particularly noticeable: 18.5 percent of them responded «very badly,» in comparison to 11.3 last December. Growing interest Interest in politics showed an increase of 3.7 percent (12.7 percent against 9 percent in December), while 32.6 percent said they were «quite interested» in politics. The survey recorded the age groups of people who said they were interested in politics: 35-44 (47.9 percent), 45-54 (50.4 percent), 55-64 (52.1 percent), 65 and over (48.9 percent). The majority of those who expressed an interest in politics were men (56 percent), with a high level of education (61.2 percent), and high socioeconomic status (58.5 percent). Though 45.3 percent of the most active members of society say they are interested in politics, it is interesting that 53 percent are completely indifferent to the likelihood of a Cabinet reshuffle. It is the pollsters’ belief that this indifference does not demonstrate apathy but more sophisticated political criteria. In other words, the public does not expect anything more from a reshuffle than a simple change of faces that may not be accompanied by any real content. «The public isn’t interested in procedures any more but in substance,» MRB executive Dimitris Mavros commented recently on SKAI 100.3 FM. «They want stability,» he added, «and their desperation shows up in all the research in the way in which they applaud any proposals by political parties that address specific issues that affect them.» Opposition New Democracy has a steady lead in the public’s view in terms of its ability to deal with precisely these issues. The areas in which ND has a lead are, in descending order: the operation of the public sector, health and welfare, unemployment, education, social insurance, crime, the economy and environmental protection. By contrast, the government is ahead of ND in only four areas: the Olympic Games, Greek-European Union relations, Greek-Turkish issues and the Cyprus question. The public, say the researchers, are looking for more specific solutions, not because they scorn the big issues but because they believe the major objectives have been accomplished.