publicissue
Greek public opinion on the issue of Golden Dawn and the role of television

Based on a telephone opinion survey, with a general population sample of 1,034 adults (18+) from across Greece. The survey was carried out: 7-9/10/2013.

Analysis by
YIANNIS MAVRIS*

The broad majority of Greek public opinion on the one hand endorse the pre-trial detention of the leader of Golden Dawn Nikos Michaloliakos (7 in 10 citizens, figure 2) and, on the other (to a lesser extent), disapproves of the release on bail of three of the party’s prominent members, Kasidiaris, Michos and Panagiotaros (6 in 10, figure 3).
However, the extremely deep penetration of the neo-Nazi current in Greek society, which has become apparent in the past two weeks, serves to further confirm the degree of social tolerance that is ascertained empirically. On the basis of a reverse reading of the responses to the above two survey questions, one may assume that the percentage of disagreement with the pre-trial detention of N. Michaloliakos (14%, 1 in 7 respondents, figure 2) constitutes the ‘lower limit’ of social tolerance, whilst the corresponding percentage of agreement with the release on bail of the party’s three senior members (27%, almost 1 in 4, figure 3), the ‘upper limit’.
It is, of course, evident that social tolerance for any ideological or political current neither constitutes nor never translates directly into party preference. On the other hand, however, it should now be quite clear (though many are still deluding themselves) that the phenomenon of Golden Dawn will not go away simply by means of judicial repression or solely through the use of communication mechanisms.
This is particularly true given the extremely low levels of social trust in news media at the present time. From this viewpoint, the findings of Public Issue’s survey are indeed revealing. The effectiveness of television, i.e. the main news media which carried the greatest weight in the campaign to dismantle Golden Dawn, appears to be fairly limited. The majority of the electorate, including even New Democracy’s own voters, have strong reservations about the impartiality of the information recently provided (figures 4, 5, 6).
The economic crisis has not only hurt the financial position of the media. The political role they assumed during the crisis has weakened them on an ideological level, especially in the case of television. Since 2007, the decline in social trust in television has not halted; quite the opposite in fact (figures 7 & 8).

 The survey’s issues:

  • Opinion about the pre-trial detention of Golden Dawn general secretary N.Michaloliakos
  • Opinion about the release on conditions of parliament members I.Kasidiaris, N.Michos & I.Panagiotaros
  • Assessment of television coverage of matters relating to Golden Dawn
  • Trust in television
  • Index of confidence in television, 2007-2013
[Not a valid template]

*Political scientist, PhD, President & CEO of Public Issue