Poll shows growing pessimism

A new opinion poll indicates that the majority of Greeks are pessimistic about the future of the country’s beleaguered economy while fearing more painful reforms and social unrest. According to the poll, conducted by Public Issue on behalf of Skai and Kathimerini, seven out of 10 people believe the country is not on track to economic recovery, with 18 percent saying they think the steps being taken by the government are in the right direction. In February, when the first raft of austerity measures was unveiled, half of Greeks questioned had expressed this level of pessimism. According to the results of the same poll, which was carried out between June 2 and 7 on a sample of 1,019 citizens, the majority of the public also fears that the current situation will degenerate. Seven out of 10 respondents said they thought that the economy would be in a worse state a few months from now. Just 12 percent said that they believed the country’s economic state would improve, as compared to 32 percent who had expressed similar optimism in December 2009. An even larger section of the public – 80 percent, according to the poll – fear a new wave of social unrest in reaction to the government’s austerity measures, with more strikes and demonstrations on the cards. A similarly high proportion of respondents, 84 percent, claimed to be disappointed by «Greek democracy» though it remained unclear whether this related to developments in the economy or in the political arena. Confidence in the competence of the main political parties remains at a low level, according to the poll. Just 18 percent of respondents declared themselves satisfied with the job being done by ruling PASOK, slightly down from 22 percent last month, while only 9 percent said they were happy with the main conservative opposition New Democracy. As for the popularity of political leaders, Prime Minister George Papandreou remained at last month’s level with 53 percent of public support, while ND leader Antonis Samaras inched up to 44 percent from 40 percent.