State of indifference

The variation in citizens’ voting intentions is not the only interesting aspect of opinion polls. The latest survey by pollsters MRB reveals something which I believe merits our attention and concern. There are many reasons why the ruling PASOK party has been losing ground to the opposition. One of these, however, makes it extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible, for the government to improve the current negative political climate. The proportion of citizens displaying indifference to or very little interest in politics is growing. We had already started recording this problem in 1999 when 43 percent of citizens had distanced themselves from politics. This figure has now reached a worryingly high 60 percent, according to MRB’s latest poll. Politicians, analysts, journalists and pollsters all know first hand that a large proportion of the electorate regard developments on the political stage with mistrust, caution and sometimes extreme aversion. The indifference is more pronounced among younger citizens – that is among those who were born and grew up with PASOK. As a result, they now associate the party with being in power – not Andreas Papandreou’s original version of the party, but the grayer, virtually bureaucratic and certainly more gloomy version that we recognize in the failed second term of Costas Simitis’s «reformist» policies.