Today is the second Greek general election of the year, following the May election that produced a Parliament unable to agree on a coalition government. Needless to say, the election has great importance beyond Greece, in terms of whether a New Democracy government that will continue with the current bailout agreement emerges or a Syriza government that will reject the bailout agreement.

Greece has a law banning opinion polls from being conducted in the final couple of weeks before an election, so the final polls were all conducted at the tail end of May, two weeks ago. Since then there have been rumours of secret polls showing ND ahead, which illustrates one of the arguments against such bans – the void created by banning proper polls is just filled by rumour and leaks. That aside, the final Greek polls are listed below.

Date ND Syriza Pasok Anel KKE XA DIMAR
Metron 31/05/12 27 26 13 7 5 5 8
Marc/Alpha 31/05/12 29 27 14 7 6 5 6
Kapa* 31/05/12 30 27 12 6 7 6 5
Rass* 30/05/12 30 27 14 7 6 4 6
MRB 30/05/12 28 26 15 7 5 5 7
DataRC 30/05/12 28 26 14 7 6 5 6
Global Link* 30/05/12 27 24 13 8 7 7 7
Alco* 30/05/12 28 25 14 7 6 5 6
Public Issue 30/05/12 26 32 14 6 6 5 8
Pulse RC 29/05/12 27 27 15 8 6 6 6
VPRC 29/05/12 27 30 13 8 6 5 8
LAST GENERAL ELECTION 2012 19 17 13 11 9 7 6

*Greek pollsters differ on whether or not they re-percentage their figures to exclude don’t knows and won’t says. The polls marked with asterisks were not originally re-percentaged, but I have done it manually to make them comparable.

As you can see, two weeks ago the polls were tending to show a small lead for New Democracy, a reverse from the period straight after the May election when Syriza surged ahead for a while. The two polls that show a Syriza lead, VPRC and PublicIssue, apparently have methodological differences involving using time series analysis rather than political weighting – I won’t pretend to understand them given that the technical papers are, literally, all Greek to me.

A final consideration is the Greek electoral system awards an extra 50 seats to the largest party, so while ND and Syriza are very close in the polls, one will emerge with at least 50 seats more than the other.


175 Responses to “Greek general election”

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  1. Statgeek-“@SOCAL
    “And I know voting is compulsory in Australia and don’t worry, I may not always be able to differentiate the accents but I do know the difference between the two countries and voting systems. (Insert Sheepish Grin).”
    Australian: “G’day Bruce.”
    English: “Good Morning old bean.”
    Scots: “Fit like pal”
    Welsh: “Baaa!””

    Love your slightly ignorant and quite offensive stereotyping of welsh people,I thought this was a site for discussing polling not a place for casual rascists to insults other nationalities.

  2. Colin
    The flip side of your question of course is whether it is possible (split infinitive alert) to quickly reduce deficits without growth, and whether growth will come without additional demand stimulus. The empirical evidence from the current experiment (and previous ones) suggests “probably not” as the most likely answer.

  3. @SocialLiberal, PeterCairns
    Actually there are MORE French registered voters in the US than in Canada. The numbers are the following:
    US
    Registered voters: 91,506
    Voted on June 17: 16,261
    UMP: 8,650
    PS: 7,611
    CANADA
    RV: 65,139
    Voted: 12,962
    PS: 8,171
    UMP: 4,791
    So the victory of the PS candidate is not due to the fact that there are more “Canadian” than “American” French voters, but to the fact that the former lean much more heavily to the left than the latter lean to the right.

  4. @Peter Cairns – “For those who haven’t noticed, as opposed to those who don’t care, the “Euro Elite” are the democratically elected politicians we have chosen and the civil servants they have appointed with the powers democratic governments have given them.”

    Thanks for the nudge, but I’ll continue to use the term ‘Euro Elite’ as it very neatly sums up the problem.

    While I accept that we get the government we deserve, this holds true only up to a point. One of the problems with democracy is the flow of information, another is the scale at which it operates, and the greater the scale of the organisation, the greater these problems become.

    There is undoubtedly a remoteness from electors (and from reality, if we’re being honest) displayed by the vast majority of Brussels based elected and unelected officials, and the problems are even worse than those experienced in national government.

    The scale of the EU is too great to allow functioning democracy to operate, and many of the rules are established to force MEPs from minority groups to adopt more mainstream groupings in order to have an effective parliamentary presence.

    The system of appointing commissioners is fundamentally undemocratic – I may vote for the Westminster government, so I have a tenuous democratic link to the appointment of one or the commissioners, but I have never voted for any other EU government, yet have to live under their representative choices. All appointments that flow from them are equally invalid in democratic terms.

    Information is equally distorted and disregarded, and yes, there really is a self serving Euro Elite whose interest lies in protecting their version of the truth rather than supporting and honest approach to information. In this, they are no different to any national or local government, but the limitations of democracy effectively mean they can’t be challenged.

    The current crisis is indicative of where this leads, with poor governance and lack of effective oversite leading to sloppy policy making and damage to the lives of ordinary people.

  5. LEFTY

    Yes -it’s a conundrum.

    You need to define “quickly” of course-and one countries “quickly” may differ from that of another country.

  6. Alec,

    “There is undoubtedly a remoteness from electors (and from reality, if we’re being honest) displayed by the vast majority of Brussels based elected and unelected officials, and the problems are even worse than those experienced in national government.”

    I’ve never bought that argument. For me people trying to coordinate across 26 different states at the direction of 26 competing governments are acutely aware of the realities and do their best to deal with them.

    “The system of appointing commissioners is fundamentally undemocratic – I may vote for the Westminster government, so I have a tenuous democratic link to the appointment of one or the commissioners, but I have never voted for any other EU government, yet have to live under their representative choice”

    For that matter so are members of the house of lords, senior civil servants,

    If their best doesn’t meet with the expectations of the public it is more to do with the scale of the task than any failure on the part of those tasked with undertaking it. If anyone is divorced from the realities of trying to administer the EU it is the average man in the street.

    As a Councillor I saw this at a lower level, where most attempts to explain why “it was taking so long” fell on deaf ears. People didn’t want the problem exp,aimed they wanted it to go away and if you couldn’t make it go away …”There was no democracy”.

    With ever it be at Local, National, or European level the publicaren’t that engaged or interested in the difficulties they just want results and it is far easier just to blame people.

    One of the reasons that the problems get greater as you move up is that at every level politicians when they can send the difficult unpopular decisions “upstairs”

    So at each level the challenges get harder and the solutions less popular so that each level of government is less well regarded than the one below.

    People like the town council more than city hall which I’d better than the state capital which of course is more popular than the ” Federal Government and the Washington Elite”.

    “The system of appointing commissioners is fundamentally undemocratic – I may vote for the Westminster government, so I have a tenuous democratic link to the appointment of one or the commissioners, but I have never voted for any other EU government, yet have to live under their representative choice.”

    So for that matter is appointments of any kind, Lords, judges, Civil Servants, where do you want to start, fancy electing your local Doctor?

    The heads of government have decided to have a commissioner from each member state and the elected government nominates them. Should the Uk elect the ambassador to Washington.

    Commissioners can’t initiate legislation they can only work on what they are told and anything they produce must be agreed by heads of government. That is essentially the same as for senior civil servants in Whitehall or local government officers… Do you want all of them to be elected.

    I!ve spent years listening to Councillor talking about their wishes being thwarted by unelected officials when in actual fact what the Councillors wanted them to do was unattainable, unaffordable, impractical, unfair and in some cases little short of illegal.

    But of course it was always easier to believe that people were conspiring against them , than that they might not be the intellectual colossus they liked to think they were.

    “The current crisis is indicative of where this leads, with poor governance and lack of effective oversite leading to sloppy policy making and damage to the lives of ordinary people.”

    No the current crisis is indicative of the fact that our best efforts probably aren’t good enough in the face of the challenge before us and that it is easier to castigate the people who we have chosen to meet that challenge than to face up to it.

    What we need to do now is extremely difficult and not only are there no easy answers the ones we have are very unpleasant, so it is so much easier to say its their fault and they’re not not listening because they don’t care.

    Peter.

  7. @ Lefty
    “(split infinitive alert) to quickly reduce deficits”

    Fowler, Modern English Usage (1926), famously stated that better to split infinitives than to contrive ugly phrases, eg. “to reduce quickly deficits (!)”. I suppose you could have written “to reduce deficits quickly”.
    He also commended the vast & fortunate majority which had never heard of split infinitives.
    AW sometimes uses them: so you are in good company.

  8. MFCYMRU

    It’s a strange phenomenon that people, who would never dream of denigrating people of a different colour, religion, gender etc, feel quite happy doing it to people from a different country (or part of a country).

    No doubt, you will be told that “it’s all a bit of fun”.

    (I wonder if the post would have survived, if it had been about people of different races?)

  9. LEFTY

    ….but there is definitely a different school of thought about the main reason for lack of growth in France :-

    ” “The question everyone is asking is what will France do in terms of structural reforms and policies to stimulate growth since there is a broad agreement that France has a serious competitiveness deficit,” said Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of the Bruegel think-tank in Brussels.”

    Reuters.

    “”If you look for instance at the development of unit labour costs between Germany and France in the past 10 years, then you see that at the start of the millennium Germany looked rather worse or at best as good as our neighbour in a lot of factors, while the differences have now been growing a lot more strongly, also a topic that must be discussed in Europe, naturally,”

    Angela Merkel.

    France already has one of the highest levels of state spending in Europe .

    It’s unemployment rate has been rising for 12 months-currently around 10%.

    Hollande has just signaled a clampdown on layoffs. The new Labour minister said “”The main idea is to make layoffs so expensive for companies that it’s not worth it,”

    Dirigisme returns in France.

    It will be interesting watch-not as dramatic as Tsipras v Merkel perhaps-but Hollande v Merkel could be a good second billing :-)

  10. @ Alec P. Cairns
    “No the current crisis is indicative of the fact that our best efforts probably aren’t good enough in the face of the challenge before us and that it is easier to castigate the people who we have chosen to meet that challenge than to face up to it.”

    But you could make this statement about any political leaders in any era. It almost precludes the idea that politicians can be historically criticised.
    Europe’s leaders created the Euro, a largely economic act, for largely political reasons, & they botched it.
    Brown may have made a meal of opposing the Euro but his basic idea that countries entering it should have achieved a certain degree of convergence was essentially sound?

  11. ROBBIE ALIVE

    @”Brown may have made a meal of opposing the Euro but his basic idea that countries entering it should have achieved a certain degree of convergence was essentially sound?”

    I have often wondered how much of Brown’s antipathy to membership of the Eurozone was part of his paranoiac feelings about TB. The five(?) tests were certainly convoluted…………but thank god he put them in place & controlled their assessment.

    By the way-it seems clear now that it was the very idea of convergence of economies within EZ which was flawed.

    They were never going to converge without a common fiscal policy to go with monetary union. And given what we now know about the fiscal governance of countries like Greece & Spain-not to mention RoI-convergence of political control was the dog that didn’t bark.

    Of course the final nonsense in the whole sorry mess was that the fiscal rules towards which EZ members were directed to converge , were ignored with alacrity by Germany & France when it suited them.

    The construction & management of the Eurozone has been a story of complete political mendacity.

  12. @ Colin
    I didn’t go into detail because my comment was “off-piste”.
    Let’s be charitable re Brown & attribute his opposition to his famous, hypertrophied caution. Politicians often come to the right conclusion intuitively: eg., Thatcher’s lone & correct opposition to entering the ERM fiasco.

    You are of course right that monetary without fiscal union was never going to work. This is now being imposed after the monetary horse has bolted.
    My point was that on v complex matters the public looks to their politicians for leadership: they were misled.

  13. @Colin
    “They were never going to converge without a common fiscal policy to go with monetary union.”

    I agree fully with your post but I’d go further and question whether economic convergence would necessarily happen even with a common fiscal policy in a unified Euro state. As a case in point, in England and Wales we’ve seen a long term trend (over at least the last 50 years) of significant economic divergence roughly on a line between the Wash and the Bristol Channel. Successive UK governments seem to have been at best indifferent to the problem, with regional policies being unwound rather than strengthened and fiscal transfers being weakened in the face of economic forces pulling nations apart.

  14. Voters could not give tuppence about such debate as ‘fiscal policy convergence’. Ask people in any USA how important it is that they have ‘fiscal convergence’ with other states and they will give you a blank look. Yet they share a common currency.

    They are poor in Kentucky and rich in California and Texas.

    Now I wonder why? :-)

  15. Robbiealive,

    True, you can say that for any government; Government is difficult.

    However that doesn’t invalidate criticism, which is legitimate.

    What I take issue with is people who play the man not the ball.

    I don’t have an issue with;
    “Europeans aren’t handling the crisis well”,

    but I take issue with

    “They aren’t handling this well because they are Europeans!”

    Peter.

  16. Howard,

    There are also rich in Kentucky and poor in Texas and California. I suspect that in both the US and European the gap between rich and poor is greater within States than between them.

    A long while back I posted something about what the US would be like if it used the EU system, with Federal power not with the President but with a Council of Governors.

    My comment was that for all the US right criticise the EU that EU model would probably fit in better with the America they would like.

    An economic version of that would be to look at what powers Washington has over states that could be a model for the Eurozone. What power does the Fed have that the ECB. Doesn’t and what powers that politicians on Capital Hill have should we give to MEP’s.

    After all a lot of the fiercest critics of the EU seem to be fans of the US.

    Call my cynical but to be honest I am not sure American politicians are any better at dealing with a crisis than ours!

    Peter.

  17. I think Americans are fairly phlegmatic about the pros and cons of their particular area.

    If you like mountains, live in Colorado. If you like beaches, live in Florida. If you want to be a movie star, live in California. If you want to be a banker, live in New York.

    You don’t try and build ski resorts in Florida. And if you do, you don’t expect a government subsidy to keep you open…

  18. @Peter Cairns – “One of the reasons that the problems get greater as you move up is that at every level politicians when they can send the difficult unpopular decisions “upstairs””

    The central problem with the EU, which is the fundamental criticism of the EU elites, is that they attempt to do fat too many things that should not be in their remit.

    Very few people across the EU have ever had the chance to directly vote for ‘ever closer union’. In the UK, and I suspect in many other countries, given the choice we would vote against this.
    This is where the difficulties arise.

    Mrs A made one of her periodic observations today, musing on the EU fisheries policy, which in my view is a classic area of incorrect apportionment of power.

    Each country either has, or doesn’t have a seaboard. It’s an accident of geography, and good luck to those that can have a large fishing fleet, tough if you’re landlocked but like fish. Mrs A opined that Swedish tomato growers can’t get a quote for Spanish sunshine, but just have to put up with a cold climate, so why not the same for fish?

    Fisheries is also a great example of how useless the EU can be. Norway and Iceland have faced precisely the same issues of regulation, over fishing, environmental protection etc, but have taken the difficult decisions well and as a result have great fish stocks. Compare to EU and discuss.

  19. PHIL

    Good points.

    But if you are right -that economic convergence might not happen-even within a fiscal & monetary union-then it merely emphasises the need for the third leg-political union.

    Only with that third leg can funds flow from richer regions to poorer regions , as a matter of political choice & policy rather than by endless negotiation & wrangling between richer & poorer sovereign states.

    And of course the central treasury can borrow for the whole entity on terms unaffected by regional economic divergence.

    What does intrigue me is the state of governance in Spain, where the autonomous regions clearly have significant borrowing powers, and have used them to incur debts beyond the power of their revenue raising capacity to repay-and beyond the capacity of the central government to fund.
    So the sovereign State of Spain appears to demonstrate that even in a political, fiscal & monetary union-the whole edifice can be collapsed if the power to spend is divorced from the power to raise revenue & set interest rates.

    I gather in USA some states ( or maybe cities?) have actually gone bust -but one never reads of it being on a scale to bankrupt the central government.

  20. @Peter Cairns – “They aren’t handling this well because they are Europeans!”

    Just to be clear – this isn’t what I am saying. I’m saying EU is no good at many things because the system is so poor, and additionally, that it’s unlikely that any system would be able to deliver what they want to deliver. Too ambitious and too centralising.

    [On my last post, it should have read ‘quota’ for sunshine, not ‘quote’]

  21. ALEC

    The Times has been running a campaign on secrecy around EU fish quotas.

    THey have got a response from Spelman which might show up some interesting stuff.

    The Times article is behind paywall-but is described here :-

    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/17774/UK_to_reveal_names_of_large_trawler_firms_who_cash_in_on_UK_fish_stocks.html

  22. @Peter Cairns
    They aren’t handling this well because they are Europeans!”

    That doesn’ t quite sum up the case being made. Can I suggest instead the pithy:

    “They aren’t handling this well because they are zealots ideologically driven by the principle of ever closer economic and political union, chose to either believe or mendaciously pretend that this in the form of the Euro would magically confer wholly spurious economic benefits on participating nations, still cannot bring themselves to admit their now self-evident mistake in forcing the creation of the Euro, reinforced its consequences for weaker nations through a suicidal fiscal pact to deliver EZ wide coordinated austerity, and prefer to concentrate on trying to use the crisis as an opportunity to promote long term measures to accelerate the pace of union as opposed to emergency measures to instigate a managed exorcism of their Euro monster, ensuring that when the ship does eventually hit the rocks the consequences will be of a magnitude unimaginable even a couple of years ago.”

  23. @Colin
    I think we are in agreement. I don’t deny that that is one route, even though delivering it might be wholly impracticable within the timescale of the current emergency and even if the political will to wholescale political union existed in more than a tiny proportion of national populations. The other is that of reverting to the tried and tested system of national floating exchange rates.

  24. PHIL

    @”delivering it might be wholly impracticable within the timescale of the current emergency and even if the political will to wholescale political union existed in more than a tiny proportion of national populations. ”

    Yes I agree.

    @”The other is that of reverting to the tried and tested system of national floating exchange rates”

    Political death for all the proponents of the Eurozone.

    Nick Robinson suggested on BBC news this evening, that we may just be facing years of fudge & mudge , interspersed with the occasional crisis. !

  25. @mfcymru

    “Love your slightly ignorant and quite offensive stereotyping of welsh people,I thought this was a site for discussing polling not a place for casual rascists to insults other nationalities.”

    It was a harmless joke. It wouldn’t be the first time I heard a Welshman make a couple of gags regarding sheep and Scots. “Racists” is hardly appropriate. Some of my best friends are sheep. :P

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