December 20, 2014 / 8:23 PM / 3 years ago

Greek polls show anti-bailout leftists still ahead but lead slips

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s radical leftist Syriza party would beat the ruling conservatives if an election were held now but its lead has shrunk from last month, two opinion polls showed on Saturday.

Greece's leftist main opposition Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras speaks during an interview with Reuters in Athens December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A survey by Rass for Sunday’s Eleftheros Typos newspaper, conducted on Dec. 17-18 after Greek lawmakers failed to elect a president in a first-round vote, showed support for Syriza at 27.1 percent versus 23.7 percent for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s New Democracy.

Syriza’s lead of 3.4 percentage points was down from 5.3 points in a Rass poll in November.

Another poll, by Macedonia University for Sunday’s Kathimerini newspaper, showed Syriza’s lead shrinking to 6.5 percentage points over the conservatives from 7.5 points in a survey in November.

Samaras lost the first round of a presidential vote by a larger-than-expected margin this week, a disappointing result for his conservative-center left coalition. There will be two more rounds of voting later this month.

The ruling coalition brought the presidential vote forward by two months, leaving a final bailout review and plans for a negotiated exit from its EU/IMF bailout program up in the air, while it seeks parliamentary backing.

Failure to get its nominee for the largely ceremonial post elected by the final round of voting on Dec. 29 would trigger a snap parliamentary election.

According to the Rass poll of 1,002 respondents nationwide, 56.3 percent of Greeks believe early elections would destabilize the country’s economy with 41 percent not worried.

Based on the Macedonia University poll, 51.5 percent of Greeks want the current parliament to elect a new head of state while 45 percent are in favor of early elections.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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