NEWS

PASOK’s poll lead is narrowing

Each of the five parties represented in Thursday’s televised debate claimed that their leader had outshone the other four but the latest in a series of rolling opinion polls by Public Issue indicated that New Democracy has the most to cheer about, as it has almost halved PASOK’s lead in less than a week. In a poll published last Sunday, PASOK appeared to have built up a 6 percent lead over the conservatives but this gap has been shrinking throughout the week and a new survey now indicates that the difference between the two parties stands at 3.5 percent. The Public Issue poll has PASOK on 32 percent and New Democracy on 28.5. This means that support for the Socialists has dropped by 1 percent in the last week. This has coincided with a rise in the number of people backing the leftist parties. Support for the Communist Party has risen to 6.5 percent and to 6 percent for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). The Ecologist Greens remain on track to be the third-biggest party in the June 7 election with 8 percent of the vote. Turnout remains a major concern for the big parties in particular. The percentage of respondents who said they will definitely cast their ballot has dropped from 79 to 75 percent this week. All the parties gave their leaders’ performances in the only debate of the European parliamentary elections top marks as they returned to the campaign trail yesterday. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that the much maligned debate gave Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis an opportunity to remind voters about «the benefits the government will bring to citizens and the vision it has for the reforms that need to take place, especially at a time when the country is facing the consequences of the international economic crisis.» Sources in the ND camp said that Karamanlis intends to make the final stretch of the campaign a personal battle with PASOK leader George Papandreou, as the conservative strategists believe he can score points this way.