Ten days ago when presenting the live Reuters polling tracker we said, "just as the most actively watched live update on June 17 will be the Greek parliament seat map as voting is tallied, so each and every day from now until then, everyone's attention will be glued to daily update from Greek election polls." Well, as of end of day Friday, a moratorium to publish polls come into effect which means that for the next 2 weeks Europe will be officially in the dark, clueless as to how the political winds in Greece are blowing.
It also means even more weight loss of a new all time record number of EUR shorts, who will be left in the dark as to what the latest un-prediscredited attempt to launch a short covering spree may be.
This is what the final pre-election snapshot update looks like:
What is most troubling to the pro-bailout camp headed by ND and Pasok, not to mention Brussels (for those curious what the core policy differences between the two main blocks are, here is a useful cheatsheet), is that Syriza finished things off with a bang, notching its highest approval score in the entire polling season, and putting to rest all rumors that it had been losing steam, and that Greeks were becoming disenchanted with its promises of renegotiating the memorandum.
A new Greek opinion poll published on Friday showed the anti-bailout leftist SYRIZA party with a six-point lead over their conservative pro-bailout rivals, ahead of a key election on June 17 that may decide whether the country will stay in the euro zone or not.
If elections took place today, SYRIZA would get 31.5 percent of the vote versus 26.5 percent for the conservative New Democracy, according to the Public Issue/Kathimerini poll.
The finding contradicts most other pollsters, who show New Democracy with a slight lead. In its latest survey published on May 24, Public Issue projected a 4-point lead for SYRIZA.
What is amusing is that a week after we had been mocking the schizophrenic tendency of Greek polling to be nothing but a glorified random number generator, so suddenly did the Mainstream Media, in the aftermath of Friday's final result, which ended things on a very sour note for the status quo. Again from Reuters:
Greece's June 17 national election is being cast as make-or-break for its future in the euro and the currency bloc itself, but if you're looking to opinion polls for guidance, think again.
With a little over two weeks to go and despite the vote's apparently historic importance, polls have thrown up wildly different scenarios of what the outcome might be.
While most polls have given the conservative pro-bailout New Democracy (ND) party a modest lead, other polls have said the radical leftist anti-bailout SYRIZA party is slightly out in front, and some have suggested that support for the two parties is evenly matched.
In other words: RAND()
it is well-known why, courtesy of framing, and feedback loops, the Greek public can not for a second be made to believe that Syriza has a chance of winning the vote, or else it would... win the vote?
Although the two leading parties are each backed by only about a quarter of the electorate, Greek election rules give an automatic bonus of 50 seats in the 300-seat parliament to the group that places first, meaning even the slightest edge could play a decisive role in determining who next rules Greece.
"The polls paint a picture of the really tight race we have ahead of us," Dimitris Mavros, head of the MRB pollster, told Reuters. "The differences are so small and nothing is set in stone. You don't know what will happen at the last minute in such a fragile political landscape."
The uncertainty is unsettling markets because the two frontrunners have radically different visions of Greece.
As for the polling process itself? Why it is merely psychological propaganda of course... Something America may well remember in the coming presidential election season:
A ban on the publication of any new polls enters into force on Saturday. Public prosecutors launched an investigation into news websites that published polls after the cutoff date in the previous election.
On Friday, the conservative Kathimerini daily newspaper, which had just released a poll putting SYRIZA in the lead, published a front page editorial defending its polls.
"Publishing the polls cannot depend on whether or not we like the result," it wrote.
SYRIZA itself has complained about the erratic polling, saying it had concerns about the way surveys were conducted and wanted government checks in place to ensure they were objective
At the end of the day remember the Golden Rule: he who has the Gold, makes the rules:
"The bottom line is who pays for and orders the poll has quite a bit of impact on what the questions are," Theodore Couloumbis, a political analyst, told Reuters. He said people tended to vote for or against parties they believed had a real chance of winning, which could depend on polls.
Only for the status quo, it is not gold... but electronically printable 1s and 0s with a $ sign in front.
And that is really what it is all about.