Greek Poll Shows Syriza Gaining Support Before June Vote

A Greek opinion poll showed the Syriza party, which is opposed to implementing Greece’s international financial rescue, building on its lead in voter support ahead of elections to be held June 17.

Syriza had 30 percent support, compared with 28 percent a week earlier, according to a Public Issue poll presented on Athens-based Skai TV today. That was ahead of pro-bailout party New Democracy, which had 26 percent support, up from 24 percent a week earlier, according to the survey.

Increased support for Syriza following more than two years of pension and wage cuts propelled the party into second place in Greece’s inconclusive May 6 elections. Leader Alexis Tsipras rebuffed attempts by New Democracy and other party leaders to form a coalition government in the days after the election, leading to a new ballot that is now seen as a test of Greece’s determination to remain in the euro area.

European leaders meeting in Brussels tied their next steps on the financial crisis to the outcome of the bitterly contested Greek vote. The six-hour summit ended early today with an exhortation to Greek voters to elect a pro-austerity government that will make the budget cuts needed to keep the financially ravaged country in the group that uses the euro.

The poll showed 85 percent of Greeks wanted to keep the euro, compared with 12 percent who were opposed to retaining the currency. The survey also showed 62 percent against the terms of the bailout and 28 percent in favor.

Poll Results

The socialist Pasok party garnered 15.5 percent, improving from 15 percent a week earlier, according to the poll, which was conducted from May 18 to May 23. The previous survey was conducted May 15 to May 17. Public Issue strips out undecided voters and those who say they intend to spoil ballots. The survey of 1,214 people had a margin of error of 3 percentage points for Syriza’s total and 2.5 percentage points for the New Democracy figure.

Under Greek electoral law, the party that has the most support is awarded a bonus of 50 seats in the 300-seat legislature.

A separate poll showed New Democracy, led by Antonis Samaras, in a tight race with Syriza.

New Democracy got 23.5 percent support with Syriza polling at 23 percent, according to the poll conducted by DATA RC and published on the news website pelop.gr. Pasok garnered 10.6 percent, with 16.1 percent of respondents undecided.

The poll of 1,019 people, which was conducted from May 21-23, showed 83 percent of Greeks wanted to keep the euro and 56 percent said a return to the drachma would be a catastrophe. No margin of error was provided for the DATA RC survey.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at mpetrakis@bloomberg.net; Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Quinson at tquinson@bloomberg.net

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