PASOK ‘ineffective’ on nation’s problems

The first major election poll held by MRB, which Kathimerini released on Sunday, confirmed the longstanding gulf dividing the two major parties by giving the main opposition New Democracy party a 7.8 percent lead against the ruling PASOK. It appears that 10 percent of PASOK’s voters have moved over to ND, much of the public having generally lost its faith in the government and the prime minister. The majority of the 2,000 people quizzed in this nationwide poll appear disappointed in the government’s record and what they view as the prime minister’s lack of ability to deal with major domestic issues such as unemployment, the high cost of living, health and education. Perhaps the most significant finding in the poll is that Simitis has done more than simply lose the advantage he had with the urban middle classes and dynamic, productive groups that put him in power in 2000; he is also out of touch with the poorer sectors of the population and the farmers. The public appears to believe that the main opposition party is better placed to handle the country’s three greatest problems: unemployment, education and health. Only 0.8 percent were convinced by the government’s marketing of the Olympic Games as a «major national issue.» Meanwhile, the poll puts ND leader Costas Karamanlis 0.7 percent ahead of Simitis as the most suitable person for prime minister. ND’s lead is due to three factors: the high degree of support from its electoral base, in contrast to PASOK; the shift of 10 percent of PASOK voters over to ND; and the perception that ND is more capable of dealing with the country’s problems.