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Greek Euro Support Weakens Amid Austerity, Opinion Poll Shows

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March 15 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Greeks with a positive view of the euro dropped more than 10 percentage points in March from a month earlier, an opinion poll showed, as austerity measures contributed to a sixth year of recession.

Nearly six out of 10 Greeks, or 59 percent, were supportive of the single currency, down from 70 percent the month before, according to a poll conducted between March 8 and March 12 by Public Issue SA for Skai TV. Those with a negative view increased to 38 percent from 28 percent, according to the survey of 1,017 people.

Support fell as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pushed through wage and pension cuts and tax increases as part of commitments to international lenders for funding to keep Greece in the euro. The poll showed that the number of people saying the country is moving in the wrong direction increased to 74 percent from 72 percent in February and 68 percent in January.

The main opposition Syriza party would come first with 29.5 percent of votes if elections were held now, compared with 28.5 percent for Samaras’s New Democracy party. Pasok and Democratic Left, parties which both support Samaras’s coalition government, would get 7.5 percent and 6 percent respectively, while nationalist Golden Dawn would come third with 10 percent.

Fifty-two percent of those polled said they thought Greece will hold elections before it has to in 2016, while 41 percent said the government will complete its four-year term. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said in an interview with Bloomberg News yesterday that Greece should hold elections before Germany goes to the polls in September to maximize leverage in renegotiating its bailout.

The poll had a 3.2 percent margin of error.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marcus Bensasson in Athens at mbensasson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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