Greek opinion poll gives Syriza clearest lead this month over New Democracy
ATHENS - Reuters
A banner showing former Greek Prime Minister and leader of leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras is seen in central Athens, Greece, September 11, 2015. Reuters PhotoGreece's leftist Syriza party has pulled 5 points clear of conservative New Democracy as general elections draw near, according to a poll on Sept.11 that gave the clearest lead to either of the two main rivals in 18 surveys.
The parties have been neck-and-neck in the run-up to the Sept. 20 election, with all other polls published this month showing a gap of 1 percentage point or less.
But the Sept.11 ProRata poll in left-leaning daily newspaper Efimerida ton Syndakton put Syriza, led by former prime minister Alexis Tsipras, on 28.5 percent and Vangelis Meimarakis' New Democracy on 23.5 percent.
Other pollsters caution that it is too early to draw conclusions from the data, obtained Sept. 7-9, and that likely patterns will emerge closer to the election, notably because of a large contingent of undecided voters.
"There is no clear trend yet in favour of one or the other direction. This ambiguity may end next week or even on the day of the election," said Thomas Gerakis, head of the Marc polling agency. "Many people have not even decided whether it's worth voting at all."
Tsipras and Meimarakis have spent much of their campaigns trading accusations over Greece's economic crisis, migration and institutionalised corruption, most recently in a largely inconclusive televised debate on Sept.9.
Pollsters say a second televised head-to-head on Sept.14 evening may influence undecided voters, which the ProRata poll put at 17.5 percent.
With neither party looking close to winning an outright parliamentary majority, the leaders have also broached the issue of post-election alliances, with Tsipras demurring and Meimarakis sounding more amenable.
The New Democracy leader told Reuters in an interview on Sept.10 that he would try to team up with Syriza if his party placed first, and turn to other pro-European groups if that approach was rejected.
Syriza forced the election last month when Tsipras resigned as prime minister, hoping to end a party rebellion over Greece's new bailout deal and trade on his then greater popularity by returning to power with a clear majority.
The previous ProRata poll on Aug. 28 gave Syriza a three-point lead, at a time when other surveys showed the party between one and three points ahead.