Double standards

Disappointed though the government may be in the findings of the recent opinion polls, it must try to avoid the temptation of knee-jerk reaction. It must also refrain from resorting to cheap and ill-thought remarks like the one made by spokesman Christos Protopappas, who said that he has no reason to comment on «stale opinion polls.» The brief delay in the publication of the poll findings (the survey was conducted between 10-24 of September), is due to reasons Protopappas is well aware of. Still, his remarks would be more pertinent if he informed us why some people tried to shelve the opinion poll’s findings. In any case, Kathimerini rushed to release them, believing that publishing the findings of V-PRC, a well-known independent pollster, would contribute to public awareness, as with every other credible survey. The crucial issue, of course, does not have to do with the poll itself. Rather, it is the establishment mentality that permeates certain circles inside the ruling party which prompts them to apply double standards. There are simply too many examples of this sort of thinking to regard the latest rebuke as merely an unfortunate coincidence. When the conclusions of a report or the findings of a survey serve government propaganda, then the Socialist officials do their best to emphasize them. When their findings aren’t so positive, PASOK’s spinmeisters rush to blur the picture by questioning the credibility of the poll or the report. In essence, the V-PRC poll only confirms the conclusions drawn from many other previous surveys. The host of vote-grabbing measures announced by the government has failed to halt the momentum of New Democracy opposition. This is a heavy blow to expectations at PASOK headquarters that the measures could reverse the climate and trim the conservatives’ lead in opinion polls. Prime Minister Costas Simitis claims that the government’s promises will take a while to be appreciated by the people and, by extension, to affect the electoral power balance. The Socialist leader, in other words, considers that the opinion polls do not yet reflect the nascent climate. The next wave of opinion polls will show whether Simitis’s view is grounded or merely an act of political delusion.

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