NEWS

Olympic Games and foreign policy are not the main concerns for the Greek electorate

Unemployment, the high cost of living, health and education, in that order, are the four most significant problems people face in their daily lives. On the other hand, Church-State relations, economic convergence with the European Union, or even the 2004 Olympics, do not appear to be of major concern to more than a very few of those polled. The organization of the Olympic Games, in which the government appears to have invested so much of its electoral campaign effort, is a major issue for only 0.8 percent of those polled. Unemployment is viewed by over two-thirds as the biggest problem, followed by the high cost of living (50.4 percent), health (38.7 percent) and education (30.8 percent). According to analysts, the fact that these four issues are directly associated with the standard of living indicates the general feeling of insecurity among the public. With the exception of fighting the high cost of living, which for the first time is placed so high on the list (hence the lack of comparative data), that ND is seen as a better bet in dealing with these issues. As to which party could better manage these problems, ND was the choice of 36.5 percent of respondents, compared to 25.7 percent for PASOK on the issue of unemployment; for health the preference was 40 percent compared to 27.4 percent respectively, and for education 41.1 and 29.1 percent. The opposition has also forged ahead on all other problems referred to in the graph (with the exception of foreign policy and the Olympics). Even 11.8 percent of PASOK voters believe an ND government would be more effective than one controlled by PASOK. Meanwhile a considerable minority of 21.2 percent believe that «neither of the two major parties can deal with these problems effectively,» indicating general disillusionment among the electorate.