Views of Karamanlis

New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis now leads Simitis as the most suitable person for prime minister, albeit by a very narrow margin (0.7 percent), a figure which lies within the bounds of statistical error. Since December 2000, Karamanlis has forged ahead in the public’s view of him as a leader. Just before the previous elections (December 1999), when Simitis was ahead, the difference was over 10 percent in the latter’s favor. Data on the two leaders’ long-term popularity since 2000 confirm this trend. In every poll, Simitis has gathered more negative that positive opinions (from 6.8 to 11.3 percent more) while Karamanlis has steadily been gaining positive opinions that are now 8.7 percent to 13.5 percent higher (in the current poll) than are the negative opinions of him. Over half of those polled thought a PASOK government would be «absolutely or rather ineffective» and only 32.9 percent thought it would be «rather or absolutely effective.» The corresponding percentages for an ND government headed by Karamanlis were 39.3 percent and 44.3 percent. Even 21.5 percent of PASOK voters view the goverment as «rather» or «absolutely» ineffective.