Polls still see ND, Simitis in the lead

Over the weekend, two new opinion polls confirmed New Democracy’s wide lead over PASOK but also showed that PM Costas Simitis remains the top choice for prime minister, by a slim margin over ND leader Costas Karamanlis. Interestingly, and despite all the rumors of Foreign Minister George Papandreou being likely to succeed Simitis before the elections, the polls also show Simitis as PASOK voters’ choice of premier. Of the two, Papandreou was the choice of those who said they voted for New Democracy in 2000. Kathimerini published the results of a telephone interview poll conducted among 2,760 people in all 13 regions of the country between December 4-13. It had a margin of error of 1.9 percent. It found that if elections were held today, 38.2 percent would vote for New Democracy and 30.4 percent would vote for PASOK, a difference of 7.8 percent. In September, the same company found a difference of 7.7 percent, with ND getting 37.9 percent and PASOK 30.2 percent. Today, the Communist Party would get 5 percent (from 5.2 percent in September) and the Synaspismos Left Coalition 3.9 percent (from 3.8 percent), with the vote of 17 percent still not determined. RASS found that 38.1 percent of those polled preferred Simitis as prime minister, compared to 36.3 percent for Karamanlis. Regarding Simitis versus Papandreou in PASOK’s leadership, 39.1 percent of those who voted for PASOK in 2000 said they would be more likely to vote for PASOK if it were led by Simitis while 28.1 picked Papandreou. Among ND voters, 52.5 percent said it was more likely they would vote for PASOK if it were led by Papandreou and only 15.5 percent preferred Simitis. A Kapa Research poll for To Vima, conducted nationwide from December 4-15, gave ND 39.7 percent over 32.4 percent for PASOK, a difference of 7.3 percent. By 38.3 percent to 37.1 percent, those polled preferred Simitis over Karamanlis for prime minister. The poll did not compare Simitis with Papandreou, but 79.2 percent of PASOK voters said they were very or quite certain that Simitis in charge would help the party in the elections.