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. @R Huckle

    The only left of centre party that officially suoports the bailout is Pasok.

  2. @ R Huckle

    As I see it it will still be pro v anti austerity with a few problems (unlikely Golden Dawn will be embraced by anyone).

    In a sense we already know the result- uncertainty.

    If Syrizia wins by a whisker that makes it very difficult for anyone to form a proper government.

    If ND win there must still be a lot of uncertainty and more can being kicked down the road however unintentionally.

  3. I am interested in why no commentator does not realise that for the UK, it as important to help bail out the PIIGS as it is for the FANGS to do so, let alone the Chinese, Japanese and Americans. (I did think of an acronym using Nips, Yanks and Chinks, etc, but I decided it could be too early in the evening for such).

    Why is it right for UK to bail out Ireland but not Greece. Or are we not all in this together? Are we not cutting off our nose to spite our collective face?

    My view is that hopeless international political ‘frit’ is responsible for this failure to realise responsibility and has all to do with tomorrow’s polls (every day that is).

    Remember the veto bounce?.

  4. The Independent Greeks may be center right, but they are also opposed to the bailout, so they wouldn’t join an ND-PASOK coalition. If ND is the first party, they will be able to form a government as they have a higher vote total to use when forming a government with PASOK.

  5. I hate coalitions. I thought they were a good idea, until I have seen the problems around Europe. The current UK coalition is fairly stable, if appearances are correct, but it will be interesting when the various biographies are published, whether this is actually the case.

  6. @SMukesh

    The reason the last holding pattern broke down was because private individuals (Sienna Miller et al) forced disclosure of evidence through the courts.

    If all those type of cases are tied up before a few select individuals are held to account, that could well put a line under the matter – but those few select individuals will likely be fairly significant.

  7. R Huckle

    Which particular non-coalition government measure would you cite as being exemplary of non-coalition government – invading Suez or perhaps Iraq?

    The 1945 one party government may well have saved my life as a little one. It certainly made my future prospects secure. I could not, like Denis Skinner, recite ‘amo, amas,’ etc’ without it.

    I think the jury is out on one party government and coalition, especially when one realises that one always has parties within parties..

  8. @R Huckle

    In many countries “natural” coalitions work well. For example economocally liberal.centrists (free democrats) and conservatives. “crisis” coalitions are another matter.

    I suppose what it comes down to is how you achieve democratic legitimacy. Is it better to govern with a single party with 40% of the popular vote, or a coalition with 50%+ of the popular vote. Which one is a more accurate reflection of the will of the electors?

  9. It is an amazing result for SYRIZA that we will have to wait until the count is final before we will truly know the result.

  10. Sky News analyst suggesting fear amongst ND supporters that exits did not take account of younger voters, who tend to vote later in the day. Another analyst says late movers definitely voted for Syriza. We shall see.

  11. This is going to be very interesting, if it were my own country, I would probably be voting rather begrudgingly for New Democracy, but I personally wouldn’t be opposed to Syriza to deal a blow to the monstrosity that is the Eurozone.

    Shackling the poor people of Greece to German Juggernaut was never going to bode well, this austerity is not the answer, Greece should be allowed to devalue their currency to pay off their debts.

    As a matter of interest, is there anything to stop a government changing currency to pay off it’s debts with its new currency. Didn’t something similar happen to France?

  12. @Anmary

    Well another analyst has said that,in a,recent poll, when Greeks were asked who is,to blame Greek politicians or the EU, 80% said Greek politicians.

  13. RAF

    Surely that is a moot point as it is the EU that is telling the Greek Government what to do?

    The problem isn’t the EU, the problem is the Eurozone. The German economy is growing, while the Greek economy is entering it’s 5th year of recession. The german currency should be strengthening and the greek currency weakening to maintain equilibrium. Instead the German export market is benefiting from the plight of the Greek people.

    I have nothing against the EU in principle, it’s done a lot of good, but it has got to the stage where the bureaucrats do have a little too much say for my liking and the Eurozone is flawed. If they are intent on keeping it, they need Fiscal Union, and closer integration.

    You either go all the way, or not at all, this current phase of limbo is disastrous and breaking apart.

  14. Personally I think the new Greek government should look to renegotiate a better deal. Yes they need the loans to assist them, but is the price being asked too high ? The other EZ countries will wish to avoid Greece leaving, so I would expect a new deal is possible.

  15. Stec –

    A question that just asks “do you agree with X” is just indefensible in a polling context.

    A question that asks “Do you agree or disagree with this statement” are the ones I complain about, they are useful for some purposes, but are rarely the best option and carry some risks. They are particularly risky if the statements you are getting people to agree or disagree with are themselves arguments, rather than bare statements (e.g. it’s probably not going to do too much damage if you ask people to agree or disagree with the statement “the government are doing a good job”, but it would be very risky to ask if people agreed or disagreed with the statement “the government should do policy A in order to achieve aim B” as the question is promoting one side of an argument without balancing it).

    In this context I wouldn’t have asked the question as an agree/disagree, but given it is quite a bare statement I doubt it has made that much difference. The church’s rebuttal seems to be that people are more likely to agree that people should have the “right” to do something than think they should just be “able” to do something. I would imagine the exact opposite to be the case.

  16. @Anmary

    I think I agree with almost all of that. It was always expected when the EZ was planned that Europe would proceed to ever closer political and economic union, ultimately even deeper than fiscal union. However, historically the European project always falters during economic downturns and picks up,in boom times. And we are seeing,that now.

    What I disagree with is that Greek political/economic mismanagement is moot. Many countries are blaming their plight on the EZ (including our own), when the,real problems lie,with poor domestic evonomic management. Or more significantly a banking collapse. The is only so,much you can achieve by devaluation. It may make Greece more attractive,to tourists, but most of Europe,is,in recession anyway so,where,will the,tourists come from?

    The,biggest error in the European project was widening,too early without deepening. Of course widening has allowed wealthier European countries to expliot cheap labour in New Europe, so there wad an element of greed imvolved, but it has caused great strain to the EZ.

  17. @R Huckle,

    I think it’s a given that the new government will try and renegotiate. The question is, will Syriza’s bargaining position be too extreme to achieve success?

    Germany will worry that if they cave to Syriza’s demand for, effectively, a clean slate, then there will be a queue of other EZ nations lining up with their plates. They might prefer, despite the pain it will cause (to them as well as everyone else) to sacrifice Greece to encourage the others to behave.

  18. New exit poll – based on 100% of the vote:

    ND – 28.6-30%
    Syriza – 27.5-29.4
    Pasok – 11-12.4

    If this pans out ND and,Pasok will have,a majority.

  19. Sorry that Syriza figure should be 27.5-28.4%.


    Someone gave this link earlier and there are now figures on there which looks like actual results but sooner than I was expecting- can anyone tell me if these are real?

  21. @Shevii

    Even if it is official, it says it is based on only 20% of the count

  22. Anthony/STEC

    The questions in the Ipsos Mori poll were phrased as

    “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement” – with the usual choices of strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, strongly disagree.

  23. Sure RAF-

    but I read that as being with 20% of the vote counted whereas if you look on newspaper websites they are still only talking about exit polls which made me wonder of those were actual votes or not.

  24. @Raf
    “Many countries are blaming their plight on the EZ (including our own), when the,real problems lie,with poor domestic evonomic management.”

    But the fact that some countries don’t manage their economies as well as others is precisely why it IS the fault of the EZ, at least for the countries within it. In the pre-Euro days, those countries with poor economic management would have seen their currency depreciate and allow them to remain economically competitive. Without the EZ, the escape route would exist, so I do blame it. Or rather, I blame those that created it and still cling to it today.

  25. Turnout looks surprisingly low on the initial figures, but that may just be because those areas with a low turnout are those returning results first.

  26. @Shevii

    ND look to be over 5% ahead with a quarter counted now. That’s going to be very difficult to overturn. If this were a US election I suspect that the networks would be about to call it.

  27. @ Graham BC

    “Official results are here”


    Can’t understand much as I don’t speak Greek but it looks like a battle between New Democracy and the new left wing party.

  28. @ RAF

    “Rodney King dies aged 47.”

    I heard. I was no fan but I considered it sad how that man’s life panned out for him. I never realized just how young he was in 1992. To die at such a young age is sad too. :(

  29. @ R Huckle

    “I hate coalitions. I thought they were a good idea, until I have seen the problems around Europe. The current UK coalition is fairly stable, if appearances are correct, but it will be interesting when the various biographies are published, whether this is actually the case.”

    I’m not a fan of Coalitions either but I do like divided government. I guess that makes me something of a hypocrite.

  30. @RAF – ” …late movers definitely voted for Syriza.”

    If exit polls prove not to be reflective of the final result, is it possible late voting young people have been swayed away from supporting Syriza by euro exit scare stories, but refused to answer the exit poll question?

  31. @ American Bystander

    “Also, I’m curious, does Gove have the support of the people when he kicks off this blood feud with Leveson? It sounds like a politically unwise idea.”

    Have you ever heard of Ken Starr and Janet Reno? :)

  32. New Democracy win…I am sure European leaders heaved a sigh of relief.

  33. @ Virgilio

    Google Elections doesn’t have Greek results but they do have French results. I’m not sure how they’re doing but the Socialists have nearly 50% of the vote (49.1% with 78% of precincts of reporting). I think that’s good but I’m not sure. They seem to have lost in seats where they won pluralities a week ago. That includes Segolene Royal (bummer). :(

    The ones who seem to be doing well (well, maybe not because I don’t know how they did in the last elections) are the Greens who have won several seats today where they had finished in second place in the first round. I’m curious to see how the Parisian results turn out.

  34. BBC Official projection of result: New Democracy – 29.5%, Syriza – 27.1%. That is from the Greek interior ministry, based on 18% of votes counted.

  35. Hopefully the good showing of the French Greens will cut further the chances of any French nuclear reactors being built in the UK

  36. ND claiming victory. :-(

  37. I’m assuming ND will form a minority administration, right? None of the renegotiation parties are willing to back them, and PASOK won’t unless SYRIZA does, and SYRIZA won’t. So, it’s looking like a minority ND government which will have to lean heavily on hoping PASOK is in the right mood to get anything done.

  38. Forecast (Guardian election blog) is 128 ND seats; 72 Syriza & 23 Pasok because of the 50 seat bonus. It’s still unclear what will happen next.

  39. Ségolène Royal has been defeated – “the only hitch in the pink wave… UMP and its allies in the New Center, credited with 212 to 234 seats, losing one hundred of their 2007 seats.”


  40. @ Billy Bob

    I like that term “the pink wave”. Too bad Royal lost.

    I’ve heard reports that exit polls have the Socialists winning an outright majority. Exit polling was amazingly reliable in the Presidential Election.

    Btw, if the Greens gain no more seats, this is their best showing ever in a French election.

  41. @SoCalLiberal

    A PS majority in parliament and senate must give Hollande a degree of authority, though he lacks the full two thirds majority required for constitutional/EU treaty changes.

    Marine Le Pen did not get a seat, though her neice did… the eurosceptic far-right FN has caused all sorts of problems for UMP.

  42. It looks as though the polls were not far wrong in Greece despite MOE caveats that one might have placed. PASOK did not do as well as in AW’s list if first reports are true.

    I imagine most partisans here on all sides will be relieved tonight, except Alec, who was rather hoping for EU / EMU Armageddon, I got the impression.

    Looks as though,, politically, the power in the EU has shifted towards Paris.

  43. How long before Hollande’s all things to all men austerity lite programme results in a massive u turn as the French debt problems and weak banks buckle ?

  44. An ND win will be a huge relief allround-though can’t escape a twinge of regret that we won’t see the Tsipras v Merkel bout now.

  45. After the supposed split between young Greek people voting for EU rebellion and older Greeks voting to cooperate, one wonders with such an issue if people with no cash to lose in any event, should have a vote?

    Not a very liberal view i know.

  46. Howard

    One could equally argue “should someone who is retired so has no vested interest in the youth unemployment problem get a vote?”

    You can logically slice off sections of the population like this until you are left with only one guy with a vote.

  47. I didn’t realise but the Telegraph reported that Angela Merkel took a few days holiday in Greece last month.

    On arrival at customs a fastidious border official asked to see her passport and asked ‘Occupation?’, to which she replied ‘No, just a holiday’.

  48. Well I just hope this Conservative/Socialist Coalition in Greece of New Democracy and Pasok can bring some stability, not just to their own country, but to the global economy too.

    It’s not the renegotiation I wanted, but hopefully ND and Pasok will live up to their promise of trying to get a better deal for Greece, when I see what austerity is doing to that country (kids fainting in school from hunger) it makes me want to cry.

  49. Alec

    That was wicked! :-)

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