Price worries hit ND popularity

One in two Greeks believe that the high cost of living is the biggest problem faced by the country, according to a poll made public yesterday, just after figures showed that inflation in Greece reached 4.9 percent GDP last month – its highest level for a decade. According to the Public Issue survey conducted on behalf of Kathimerini and Skai, 48 percent of those questioned cite rising prices as the biggest problem, compared to just 11 percent last November. The second and third biggest concerns are also finance-related, with 35 percent worried about unemployment and 32 percent fretting about their personal finances. Also, eight in 10 respondents predicted that they would save little or no money at all over the next 12 months. Creeping inflation also appears to have had an effect on people’s political beliefs. Only 21 percent of voters think that the reigning New Democracy party is the most suitable government to tackle the problem of high prices, compared 27 percent who would trust a PASOK government more. Two-thirds of respondents in April felt the country was moving in the wrong direction. That figure has now reached 75 percent. The popularity of the two main parties also seems to have been affected by the rise in the cost of living. ND’s popularity dropped from 37 percent to 35 percent over the last month, while PASOK’s rose from 31 to 31.5. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) remained solidly in third place with 17.5 percent. The popularity of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has, unusually, also taken a hit. The number of people who see him as being the most suitable to be premier dropped from 39 percent in May to 33 percent now. The popularity of PASOK leader George Papandreou rose from 13 percent to 16 percent. Karamanlis was on an official visit to Austria yesterday and held talks with Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. The two called for a discussion at a European level to debate how best to tackle inflation.