Of those surveyed in the poll, conducted by MRB Hellas SA, 20.5 percent said they’d vote for the conservative New Democracy, compared with 20.3 percent in a similar survey on March 24, while 12.7 percent back Pasok, up from 12.1 percent.
The combined 33.2 percent support for New Democracy, led by Antonis Samaras, and Pasok, headed by Evangelos Venizelos, compares with a combined 47.4 percent for smaller parties that oppose the austerity measures required as part of a 130 billion- euro ($170 billion) financial aid program for Greece.
The poll found that 19.4 percent of voters will abstain or are undecided on how to vote in the May 6 elections called by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
Two in three of those interviewed said that while Greece should remain within the euro area, it should follow a different economic policy that doesn’t involve the harsh austerity measures associated with the aid program.
Almost 66 percent said a coalition government would be the most effective in tackling Greece’s problems, with 40.4 percent preferring to see parties other than New Democracy and Pasok co- operating in a coalition government. Only 7 percent favor an administration made up again of the two main parties.
While 22.9 percent said Samaras would make the best prime minister, compared with 20.9 percent for Venizelos, 52.4 percent said neither was suitable.
The number of parties in the parliament would increase to seven from five if the election were held now, with the Democratic Left, the Independent Greeks and Chryssi Avghi, or Golden Dawn, all gaining representation for the first time. The nationalist Laos party, which withdrew from the coalition, would lose all its 16 seats, the poll indicated.
Independent Greeks would attract the largest number of New Democracy supporters, while the Democratic Left would see the most defections from Pasok, according to the survey.
MRB Hellas surveyed 1,008 people for Real News between April 7 and April 10. No overall margin of error was given.
To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Tugwell in Athens at firstname.lastname@example.org
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