George Papandreou’s leadership of PASOK was dealt a blow yesterday, just days ahead of the party’s conference, when a new poll suggested that the Socialists have hemorrhaged support to the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). The survey by Kappa Research put New Democracy ahead on 29.1 percent, PASOK lagging behind on 23.2 percent and a resurgent SYRIZA third on 18.4 percent. The statistics represent a major decline in popularity for the two main parties and a significant rise for SYRIZA. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is considered by far the most suitable leader to be the premier. He garnered 41.2 percent in the poll, published in Sunday’s Vima newspaper. Papandreou managed just 19.3 percent. Alexis Tsipras, the new SYRIZA leader, boasted 13.1 percent. Tsipras’s election has led to the leftist party posting improved results in opinion polls and has caused considerable concern among PASOK insiders. Papandreou goes into the PASOK conference, which starts in less than two weeks, desperately needing to rally his party.