World

Greece's Government Faces Deficit in Public Trust

by Steve Crabtree

Fewer than one in five Greeks have confidence in their national government, financial institutions

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The no-confidence vote taking place in Greek parliament Friday is the latest chapter in a crisis of confidence that has been deepening in the country for years. Gallup surveys show Greeks' confidence in their national government hit a new low of 18% in April and May 2011 after steady declines since 2005.

Confidence in government in Greece


Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called the vote to test support for his government at a crucial moment in the country's debt crisis. Papandreou's call for a public referendum on the bailout deal reached by European leaders and private investors created political turmoil in Greece, with at least three members of Papandreou's political coalition saying they no longer supported him.

Papandreou changed course Thursday, saying the referendum was not necessary but that the no-confidence vote would go ahead. The vote will decide the fate of a politician whose popular support had fallen sharply even before this week's bizarre events: In April and May 2011, 21% of Greeks approved of the job Papandreou was doing, down from 38% in June 2010. The drop likely reflects the increasingly broad austerity measures the government has been forced to adopt, and the attendant drop in Greeks' own life evaluations.

Greeks' confidence in the country's financial institutions has also tumbled in recent years as the government's debt has mounted. Nearly 2 in 10 Greeks this year said they were confident in Greek banks, compared with about 4 in 10 in 2005.

Confidence in banks in Greece

This trend likely reflects rising doubts among the Greek public about the government's ability to guarantee the security of their deposits. Private-sector bank deposits have fallen by more than 21% since early 2010. Moody's Investor Service downgraded the credit rating of eight Greek banks in September and referred to the country's financial industry as a "deteriorating operating environment."

Implications

Greece has a crushing financial crisis to recover from and a crisis of public confidence that could prove debilitating. As the government moves to privatize areas of the economy and shrink its inflated bureaucracy over the next few years, it will increasingly rely on the country's private investors and entrepreneurs to create growth. Unless those people have faith that the institutional environment -- most notably the government and banks -- can support their efforts to build new businesses and create jobs, the road to recovery may be even longer than anticipated.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact SocialandEconomicAnalysis@gallup.com or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 Greek adults, aged 15 and older, per survey wave. Surveys were conducted in July 2005, May 2007, October 2009, June 2010, and April-May 2011. For results based on each total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.6 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.


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