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Most Greeks Prefer to Remain in Euro, Early Election, Poll Shows

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Nearly eight in 10 Greeks say the country’s leaders should do whatever is needed to remain in the euro and a majority say elections should be held by April, an opinion poll showed.

Of the 1,004 people surveyed Dec. 28-29 by Kapa Research, 77.2 percent said leaders should take all measures to remain in the euro zone while 16 percent said they preferred a return to the drachma. The poll was published in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper.

On asked when an election should be held, 56.2 percent said it should be held in April after negotiations over a debt swap with holders of Greek debt is completed, while 37.7 percent favored the polls at the end of the governemnt’s term that expires in 2013.

Nearly seven in 10, or 66 percent, of those surveyed had a positive view of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, appointed on Nov. 11 as head of a government backed by three of the five parliamentary parties. Former Prime Minister George Papandreou had an approval rating of 18.8 percent, while New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras polled 35 percent.

Papademos is trying to secure loans under a 130 billion-euro ($168.5 billion) bailout for Greece agreed to by European Union leaders before elections are held. Measures include negotiating a debt swap with private creditors that will cut 100 billion euros off Greece’s burden.

If elections were held next week, the Pasok party led by Papandreou would garner the support of 12.6 percent of those polled, while the New Democracy Party, headed by Antonis Samaras, would be the choice of 21.4 percent. The nationalist Laos party, which is also part of the interim government along with Pasok and New Democracy, was backed by 5.3 percent. Nearly 30 percent were undecided.

The Communist Party of Greece would receive 9.3 percent of the vote and the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, would get 6.2 percent, the poll suggested. Both Syriza and the Communist Party declined to join the interim government.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.09 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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