PASOK extends lead over ND

PASOK has stretched its lead over New Democracy to 6 percent and has enough support to form a government on its own, according to the latest opinion poll conducted by Public Issue for Kathimerini. In what was the last round of polling before the October 4 general elections, the survey suggested that support for PASOK has risen by 0.5 percent since last week to 41.5 percent, while backing for New Democracy has remained unchanged at 35.5. The Communist Party is in third place with 8.5 percent and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) in fourth with 6 percent. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is on the cusp of garnering enough support to get into Parliament with 4 percent, while the Ecologists Greens are just below the threshold with 2.5 percent. When translated into parliamentary seats, these results would give PASOK 153 in the 300-seat House. New Democracy would get 97, the Communists 23, LAOS 16 and SYRIZA 11. The poll also indicates that New Democracy is failing to convince its own supporters that it deserves a third term in office. Just 65 percent of the people who voted for ND in the last election two years ago say they will do so again this time, compared to 86 percent of PASOK supporters. At the same time, PASOK leader George Papandreou has increased his approval rating from 28 to 33 percent in the last week. As PASOK continues to build its lead, the number of people who think that the election result is still in doubt is diminishing by the day. Whereas last week 44 percent of those questioned thought it was not yet clear who would win, that figure fell to 35 percent yesterday. One of the few opportunities that Karamanlis will have to claw into PASOK’s lead is in the televised leaders’ debates. It was agreed yesterday that the debates will be held on Monday and Tuesday. The first will be between the leaders of the six main parties, while the second will be between just Papandreou and Karamanlis.