Greek Socialists keep lead despite austerity: Poll
Athens: Greece`s ruling socialists continue to lead their main opposition conservative rivals despite having taken tough austerity measures to deal with the country`s debt crisis, an opinion poll showed on Saturday.
The poll conducted by pollsters Alco for newspaper Proto Thema showed the ruling PASOK socialists leading the Conservatives by 10 percentage points -- 32.1 to 22.1 percent.
The ratings for both parties were lower than from a January Alco poll that showed PASOK with 34.7 percent support and the conservatives 25.5.
Under pressure from its euro zone partners and rising borrowing costs, the Socialist-led government has cut public sectors wages, frozen pension and raised taxed, aiming at cutting the budget deficit by 4 percentage points to 8.7 percent of GDP this year.
Euro zone leaders and the IMF have supported the steps and say they should prevent a deepening of the crisis, but investors are keeping a close eye on public opinion because they are still unsure whether the government will be able to carry them out.
Saturday`s poll also showed that about half of the 1,000 respondents were in favour of labour strikes against the belt-tightening, while 42 percent were not. Some 60 percent believed Greece would finally get over its financial crisis.
A different poll published on Friday showed PASOK with a similar lead, but also showed three quarters of Greeks thought that the government`s plan to cut the country`s budget deficit was "socially unfair" because it was aimed at lower earners.
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