Athens.- Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his government apparently got a wholly positive nod this week in the eyes of public opinion over Athens’ performance at a crucial European Union summit in Brussels last week — a setting where neighboring Turkey was awarded a conditional date for starting EU entry talks.
According to the opinion poll published in the Friday edition of “Kathimerini”, 57 percent of respondents considered that the government “did the best it could do” for the country’s interests and for those of Cyprus. Conversely, 37.7 percent of respondents disagreed with the above statement.
Even more telling, 61.7 percent said the government’s handling of issues at the summit was “successful” or “probably successful”; 33 percent said the government’s handling was not successful.
Moreover, roughly two-thirds of respondents (68.1 percent) said they were also satisfied with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’ stance during the Brussels summit. Only 14 percent of respondents said the Cypriot leader’s stance was a “failure”.
In terms of the all-important “head-to-head” match-up between the country’s two largest parties, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, the former was picked by 34.6 percent of respondents to 28.1 percent for the main opposition – a 6.5-lead in the voters’ preference category. Parliament-represented Communist Party of Greece (KKE) earned 6.1 percent and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) 3.3 percent. Out-of-Parliament LA.OS earned 2.3 percent of respondents’ preference.
On the question of “who is more capable of handling national issues”, Premier Karamanlis pooled 40.2 percent of respondents’ preferences to PASOK leader and one-time foreign minister George Papandreou’s 32.4 percent.
Karamanlis also comfortably led in the popularity rating, garnering a 65.7-percent positive standing. Papandreou earned 49.9 in the same category, whereas KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga pooled 28.3 percent and newly elected Synaspismos president Alekos Alavanos 28.2 percent.
Finally, 34.7 percent of respondents said they were “slightly optimistic” about the country’s future; 31.2 declared themselves very optimistic and 20.5 “not at all”.
The opinion poll was conducted by the Rass firm from Dec. 19 through Dec. 21 on a sample of 1,408 respondents via the method of random telephone interviews.