Nearly eight months after ousting Costas Simitis’s Socialists in the March 7 national elections, New Democracy has widened its lead over PASOK while Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is seen as the conservatives’ greatest asset, according to the results of a survey made public yesterday. A phone poll of 1,200 people carried out on October 22-23 by RASS pollsters on behalf of the private Star television channel gave ND an 8.2 percent lead over PASOK. Asked which party they would vote for were elections to be held now, 35.6 percent of all respondents named ND. PASOK followed at 27.4 percent; the Greek Communist Party (KKE) came in third at 6.5 percent; Synaspismos Left Coalition got 3.6 percent and the ultra-conservative Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) was named by 2.7 percent. In the March 7 vote, ND won with 45.37 percent, ahead of PASOK’s 40.55. KKE came third at 5.89 percent, followed by Synaspismos at 3.26 percent and LAOS at 2.19 percent. Quizzed on what they saw as the ruling conservatives’ main asset, some 47.8 percent of respondents in the poll named Karamanlis – picking from a list. Some 13.2 percent said the party’s officials, while 10 percent named «the party’s ability to respond to the people’s problems.» Some 42.8 percent expressed great or considerable satisfaction with the conservatives’ administration, while at the same time 24.2 percent voiced a similar degree of satisfaction with PASOK’s performance as main opposition party. Among Socialist supporters, the satisfaction level with their party was 35.5 percent. Asked which party leader had performed best since March 7, 51.2 percent named Karamanlis and 19.1 percent backed PASOK leader George Papandreou.