‘Yes’ to the audit

The conclusions of a VPRC survey, which questioned 612 people from across the country about the audit of public finances ordered by the conservative government and the underestimation of public debt by the Simitis administrations, are highly revealing. The main finding of the opinion poll, which was conducted by phone, is the mature stand taken by the respondents with regard to people’s will to know the truth about the economy, however painful or unpleasant that may be. Having said that, it is worth noting that a large number of people question the credibility of PASOK’s governments. Almost 63 percent of the respondents said they «somewhat agree» with the decision of the present government to order a review of public finances, while only 23 percent said they «somewhat disagree» with the move. Not surprisingly, 81 percent of those who voted for New Democracy in the March elections said they approve of the audit policy, with only 9 percent expressing the opposite view. It is striking, on the other hand, that PASOK voters remain split on the issue: 44 percent said it was a sound move, while 47 percent said it was a mistake. Most of those who voted for the smaller parties (58 percent) hailed the government’s initiative. Approval ratings, however, are significantly lower on the government’s decision to present the findings of the audit to the European Union. Some 49 percent said it was the right decision, while 35 percent said it was probably a mistake. Responses to a question about the accuracy of the financial figures presented by the Simitis administrations were a real blow to Socialist credibility. Less than one in five said the data was authentic (a meager 19 percent), while 59 percent said that it was probably not accurate. Even among Socialist voters, 46 said that the numbers were fudged, while 31 percent said they were probably real. Remarkably, not even one in three of PASOK supporters believe that the Simitis administration told the truth about public finances. Furthermore, 63 percent of Socialist voters said they «somewhat agree» that the alleged distortion of deficit numbers in previous years harmed the country, while the percentage of those who «somewhat disagree» was down to 27 percent. PASOK, which bears responsibility for the fabrications, and the pro-Socialist media are crying foul in a bid to reinforce the impression that the economy review damaged the country. Their aim, of course, is to cover up the responsibility of the PASOK governments. Their propaganda is bound to fall through, for, as the poll underscored, people hate living a lie. More noisy expostulation will only drive more voters away from Socialist arms.