Public disenchantment

Seven recent opinion polls have produced virtually identical results. Each indicates the serious decline of the ruling party and the corresponding 7 percent lead of the opposition, just half a year ahead of the next elections. PASOK officials who hope to trim the margin in the remaining months should take a close look at the results of the ICAP annual survey on household finances released yesterday. But so should those New Democracy officials who believe that their continued lead in the polls is a sign of public confidence in the conservative party and general optimism that ND will provide better governance. The survey’s main conclusion indicates the pessimism of most citizens for the future. Fully half of all households believe they will be worse off next year than now. Insecurity, disappointment and anxiety among voters are the root causes of PASOK’s poor showing in the polls. A social psychologist would add that these elements, combined with the nature of the Greek mentality, have an impact that goes beyond the political sphere. Rather, such feelings undermine people’s faith in general and their willingness to work for a better future. And this is a far graver consequence, for it concerns much more than the electoral fate of ND or PASOK. Significantly, seven in 10 Greeks say they are disenchanted with both the government and main opposition party. This means two things: First, because of its long stay in power, PASOK is mainly responsible for this mood of public disillusionment and is all but incapable of transfiguring this mood into faith and optimism. Secondly, it means that in its bid for power, ND must know that successful governance depends less on policies and programs than on whether its voters will express faith, hope and a fighting spirit.

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