ATHENS Support for the two parties backing Greece's technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos fell to an all-time low, a poll showed on Monday, a sign of rising popular frustration at austerity measures imposed to stave off a chaotic default.
The survey by pollster GPO was carried out on Feb 16-21, a week after lawmakers of the conservative New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK parties approved a harsh austerity package demanded by Greece's international lenders to keep bankrolling the country under a 130 billion euro bailout plan.
Euro zone finance minister gathered on Monday in Brussels to approve the bailout after they received written pledges by the two parties' leaders that they would stick to austerity even after an early election penciled in for April.
But this pledge is making pro-bailout politicians unpopular, the poll showed. Backing for New Democracy stood at 19.4 percent and at 13.1 percent for PASOK. Both parties dropped about two percentage points from a previous GPO poll in December.
"This is the lowest level for the two parties that we have ever recorded," GPO's head pollster Takis Theodorikakos told Mega TV, which commissioned the survey.
Leftist, anti-bailout parties - the Left Coalition and the Democratic Left - gained, the GPO poll showed.
Papademos's popularity also tumbled, with only 43 percent of the poll's 1,200 respondents saying they had a positive view of him compared with 63 percent in December.
But he ranked third as best suited for prime minister with 6.3 percent, behind conservative leader Antonis who scored 20 percent of respondents' preferences and Socialist Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos who got 16.5 percent.
Most Greeks want to stay in the euro zone, the poll showed, with 77 percent saying their country must keep the currency "at all costs", the same percentage as two months ago.
Almost two-thirds of respondents said a coalition government was best suited to deal with the country's problems. On current poll numbers, New Democracy would fail to win an absolute majority in the election and would depend on the Socialists to govern.
Those undecided or not intending to vote made up 27 percent.
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou)