Syriza’s lead widening as election approaches

On the eve of the important Greek national elections, a few observations, reflections, and questions:

  • Polling in recent days has been remarkably consistent, with four different polls giving Syriza a lead of 5.3, 4.8, 6.0, and 6.2 points, according to reporting by Reuters. This average of a 5.6 point lead for Syriza is an increase from the 4.0 average in polls taken the week of Jan 11-18, as recorded by Metapolis.
  • There are still around 10% of voters out there who haven’t made a decision—it’s anybody’s guess which way they’ll go in the end.
  • The Neo-Fascist Golden Dawn party is polling around 5% and is a contender for the third place finisher. One can look at this two way: either a 1) “Holy shit, their entire leadership is in jail and unable to campaign, yet they are still drawing a significant number of votes!” or 2) Golden Dawn’s support has been cut in half since the last EU parliamentary elections, so maybe they are fading out as a serious threat.
  • Most “man on the street” interviews, as well as my personal experience talking to folks here suggests that much of Syriza’s support is primarily in opposition to the governing party, rather than a wholehearted embrace of the party’s agenda.

Questions:

  • I am very curious to see how Golden Dawn’s vote totals will shake out. Experience in the US suggests that a lot more people might, in the privacy of the voting booth, cast a vote for an openly racist party than will admit it to a pollster. Will GD end up drawing more than the 5-6 percent that they are polling?
  • What effect will the not-so-subtle campaign against Syriza by the European powers that be have–will some of those people who express shaky support for Syriza get nervous about a possible exit from the Euro and bail out in the end? Or will this be perceived as an infringement on Greek sovereignty and an insult to the Greek people, driving more voters into Syriza’s arms.

 

We’ll know the answers in a few days. No matter what, it’ll be an interesting election.

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