Yesterday the world's financial markets rose like a helium balloon on the news that weekend opinion polls in Greece showed that the conservative, pro-memorandum party, New Democracy was ahead. Even the Athens Stock Exchange got a respite from a nosedive that has seen its index fall to figures last seen in the 1990s.
There are many possible explanations for New Democracy's reversal of fortunes. Antonis Samaras has been building a conservative coalition and perhaps many voters who would have voted for smaller right wing parties are now transferring their votes to him as the only viable centre right alternative to SYRIZA.
On the other hand the constant barrage of predictions on TV about possible exit from the Eurozone has frightened older voters who fear their life savings will evaporate should the drachma be reintroduced and so perhaps signals a swing back to more mainstream politics.
Yet, according to an insightful analysis there may be another more concrete reason for the sudden challenge to the popularity of Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA). In the opinion of Greek blogger, Alepouda there is a systematic bias in polls conducted in Greece with the upshot that means that estimates of SYRIZA's share of the vote are wildly off. The most inaccurate being a GPO poll carried out for the current affairs programme, Anatropes on MEGA TV on the 25th April, just weeks before the 6th May elections. According to the poll SYRIZA was predicted to get 6.2% whilst the final election result was 16.78%. Strangely, the results for both PASOK and New Democracy were less than 2% off.
Nor is this anomaly limited to GPO, other pollsters have revealed similar deviations in their estimates of SYRIZA's electoral strength. Indeed, according to Alepouda's infographics the average result opinion poll researchers claimed for SYRIZA was 9.1%, more than 7 percentage points lower than their final figure. In the case of all other political parties the difference was less than 1%.
How to explain such amazing accuracy in the case of every other party apart from SYRIZA? Statistically, there seems to be no logical explanation for such a large error. On the other hand, more sceptically minded commentators might be left with the impression that the media war being waged upon Greek parties opposed to austerity measures is not limited to the mainstream press but has extended to those companies that rely on such media outlets for their very survival.