UPDATE 2-Majority of Greeks support more protests – polls

* Declining faith in PM’s handling of economy – poll

* Violent march may have coloured support for protests

(Recasts with new polls)

ATHENS, May 8 (BestGrowthStock) – A majority of Greeks support
further protests against austerity measures agreed by the
government in exchange for billions of euros in EU/IMF aid, two
polls showed on Saturday.

A survey by polling group Public Issue for the Kathimerini
newspaper showed that 68 percent backed more strikes and
protests against the measures, which include deep cuts in wages
and pensions, although a smaller number — 39 percent — were
prepared to take to the streets themselves.

Another poll, from Kappa Research for To Vima newspaper,
showed 53.2 percent in favour of more protests, compared to 45.3
percent against.

The Kappa poll was conducted on Thursday, a day after some
50,000 people marched in Athens and three people were killed in
a petrol bomb attack in the worst unrest to hit the country
since riots in 2008. The Public Issue survey was carried out the
day before the deadly march. [ID:nLDE6440NQ]

Those polls contrasted with a third by ALCO for newspaper
Proto Thema, which appeared to point to stronger support for
government plans.

In that poll of 1,000 Greeks, 28 percent said they believed
strikes and protest were the “best solution for tackling the
economic crisis” in Greece.

The violence of Wednesday’s march and the phrasing of the
survey questions may have contributed to the variations in the
responses.

The Public Issue poll showed declining faith in Prime
Minister George Papandreou’s handling of the economy, which
contracted 2.0 percent last year and is forecast to shrink by
twice that amount in 2010.

Some 36 percent said they trusted his leadership on the
economy, down from 47 percent in April.

Public Issue director Giannis Mavris highlighted the broad
support for the protests and said it suggested that “paralysis”
of the state in the near future could not be ruled out.

Investors are closely monitoring public opposition to
Papandreou’s austerity plans, concerned that prolonged social
unrest could weaken his resolve and ability to push through
steps which were passed by the Greek parliament on Thursday.

Papandreou’s PASOK party enjoys a comfortable majority in
parliament and won the vote despite the refusal of the main
conservative opposition party to back the measures.

Athens has been pledged 110 billion euros ($147.6 billion)
in loans to buy it time to reform its uncompetitive economy, but
financial markets have reacted with scepticism, prompting EU
leaders to consider new steps to prevent the Greek crisis from
spreading to other euro zone member states.

Stock Investing

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Writing by Noah Barkin;
Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

UPDATE 2-Majority of Greeks support more protests – polls