September 12, 2015 / 3:31 PM / in 2 years

Greece's Syriza, New Democracy still hard to separate, polls show

ATHENS (Reuters) - The leftist Syriza party of former Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras maintained a wafer-thin pre-election lead over conservative New Democracy in three opinion polls on Saturday, with a fourth putting them level-pegging.

Greek presidential guards perform a ceremonial march at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the parliament building in Athens, Greece, September 12, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

The two parties have been hard to separate in the run-up to the Sept. 20 ballot, and Tsipras and his center-right counterpart Vangelis Meimarakis have spent much of their campaigns trying to protect their vote, trading accusations over Greece’s economic crisis, migration and corruption.

In surveys published in the Sunday editions of four newspapers, Syriza led by between 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent in three, hovering around 26 percent of the vote.

A fourth, by Public Issue poll in Avgi that included the preferences of undecided voters, put both parties on 31 percent.

In the other polls the undecideds, invariably the third largest bloc in surveys published this month, came in at between 10.4 and 14.1 percent

Pollsters expect some of those voters to come off the fence after a televised head-to-head debate between Tspiras and Meimarakis on Monday, though a seven-party debate broadcast on Wednesday had little impact on voting intentions.

Reporting by Michele Kambas; Writing by John Stonestreet; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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