Anti-Troika swing among young voters
The Slog has received details of two secret opinion polls in Greece, both of which suggest that, as young voters finally make their minds up, PASOK in particular has seen a major fall in its share of the vote. There are rumours in Athens itself that at least one poll has also been conducted by EU officials working out of the Troika offices there.
As The Slog predicted recently, Antonis Samaras of New Democracy has his sights on a coalition without the Pasok Party of Evangelo Venizelos. Not only does Samaras believe that the Pasok leader is too unpopular to be anything other than a liability, he also feels that Venizelos would block any attempt to renege on the Brussels bailout Accord signed in March….and leak Government intentions to the Troika.
Samaras is now openly reaching out to Right-wing voters who are leaving his Conservative party ahead of the May 6 elections, observes the Greek Reporter. While that’s true, in private he is also keen to reach out the the Far Right’s leaders, and put the slavishly pro-bailout Pasok out of power. To do so, Samaras yesterday focused on his Rightist credentials, saying he would get tough on crime, repeal laws giving citizenship to second generation immigrants born in Greece, and allow police to use water cannons to break up protests. Nationalism is a rapidly growing political force in Greece – especially among the country’s youth.
Older traditional voters seem to have made up their minds to vote either ND or Pasok early on, largely ignoring the growing number of fringe Parties. But in the last eight days, there is polling evidence (it cannot be published in Greece as it is after the two-week pre-Election deadline) that not only are young voters firming up their intentions, a sizeable minority are ignoring the more pro-EU mainstream Parties.
One national poll – allegedly commissioned by Brussels – shows the New Democracy Party of Antonis Samaras holding onto its share of the vote, while Pasok has dropped from 19.8% to 15.5%. The Nationalist schism Golden Dawn was also seen to have enoyed a slight increase in popularity. If Pasok leader Venizelos has had sight of this poll, it would explain his desperate call, earlier in the week, for a ‘Grand’ Coalition….naturally, including him. In fact, I’m told that both main Party leaders know they are unlikely (based on the current numbers) to make up a majority of the votes cast. (The survey was leaked by a foreign Embassy in Athens, widely though to be Spain’s).
But a new poll revealed exclusively here by The Slog shows that, in the key voting areas in and around Athens – where the percentage youth demographic is higher – the mainstream Party share of vote is collapsing.
The area polled is enormous, and electorally important: about 1.5m electors, running across 34 municipalities and accounting for roughly 42 seats in the Greek Parliament. The topline results are as follows:
With the support of less than 3 in 10 of voters, there is no way that the pro-bailout Coalition could have any validity. But equally, based on this study it looks as though neither the Left (32%) nor the Right (34%) could put a government together either.
There are, however, three other important factors. First, the Leftist Parties are violently opposed to the bailout terms and thus could never join in a Pasok Coalition without catastrophic loss of face. Second, as the above stats show, 28% of voters (mainly young) are still undecided – although many may abstain. And last but not least, the minority Parties themselves are now reaching out right across the Left-Right spectrum.
Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Radical Left SYRIZA group, yesterday (Friday) said his Party would be prepared to join forces with the newly-formed nationalist Independent Greeks led by Panos Kammenos. This in turn firmed up a more general statement earlier that a left-wing alliance “would see votes for IG as support for, or at least tolerance of, such an anti-bailout formation.
The situation now becomes intriguing. For starters, there is a clear majority here against the bailout terms. If one adds on Antonis Samaras’s obvious doubts about it, the Troika is seen to have the support of just one in eight voters. Brussels will thus be forced to accept that its bailout scheme, timings and terms are unacceptable to the vast majority of Greeks. Based on their track-record, this won’t worry them for more than a second or two, but if made clear enough to the eurozone’s more apathetic voters, it might serve to point out what they (and that includes the UK) might well be in for one day.
Further, if we work on the assumption – not at all outlandish – that a quarter of the remaining 28% abstain, a quarter vote for the bailout Parties, and half vote for the minority groupings, that would take the anti-bailout protest to 42% Left and 42% Right. Pasok would be unacceptable to both wings of the opposition to Troika plans, so it would take only SYRIZA to join with Independent Greeks and New Democracy to form a majority anti-Brussels coalition Government.
How welcome would that be to the social democrat fluffies and control freaks of the EU? Not at all. More to the point, it would be an unmitigated disaster for the ECB and French banks; the beginning of the end, in fact, of the euro – were the outcome to emerge just as the markets give up on Spain….as they assuredly will do sooner rather than later.
As Dan Hannan would probably say, “That’s another fine mess the EU control freaks have got us into”. But bearing in mind the revelations discussed throughout this week here, one wonders what illiberal, anti-democratic trick they will now dream up to declare the vote null and void?
But for the Americans – a different story? This is, after all, exactly the outcome they wanted in March. But would they still want it in May, with Mario Draghi trying in vain to wrestle a Spanish meltdown to the ground? At the moment I have no idea. But I’d be willing to bet Lloyd Blankfein does.
Once again, The Slog is indebted to those who leaked and tipped off across the spectrum of Greek opposition