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Politics

Poll Shows New Democracy Has Big Lead, COVID-19 Vaccinations OK

ATHENS – Criticism from rivals about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t hurt Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, holding a 16 percent lead in a survey that also showed people more accepting of vaccines.

The public opinion poll from the firm Pulse gave New Democracy a 39-23 percent margin over the major opposition SYRIZA Progressive Alliance the Conservatives pounded in July 7, 2019 snap elections, said Kathimerini.

In third was the politically irrelevant center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) at 7.5 percent, followed by the KKE Communists in their usual position, at 6.5 percent, unable to make any inroads for decades.

Fifth was the ultra-nationalist Greek Solution with 4.5 percent and then the far-left MeRA25 of former SYRIZA finance chief Yanis Varoufakis at 3 percent, the minimum needed to get into Parliament in elections.

The poll was taken Jan. 25-27 and centered on the pandemic, with 58 percent saying they were worried about a variant of COVID-19 and 39 percent expecting easing of an already lenient second lockdown.

But that was just before the number of cases rose sharply again,with Mitsotakis said leaning toward tightening the health measures and perhaps even bringing a curfew as early as 6 p.m. It is now 9 p.m.

The slow rollout of a vaccination program has also seen a jump in the number of people willing to get it after there was concern about its safety or effectiveness. Some 74 percent, up from 67 percent, said they would take it.

As for troubled relationships with Turkey, only 17 percent said the renewal of exploratory talks for the first time in four years would be helpful and 59 percent said the election of US President Joe Biden would help Greece.

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