The rise of Greece's neo-Nazi political party, Golden Dawn, is a scary enough story on its own. Its members brandish a swastika-like logo on their official flag, throw Nazi salutes, sell Mein Kampf at their official headquarters, threaten journalists, deny the Holocaust, and beat immigrants, none of which stopped the group from winning 7 percent of the vote and 18 parliament seats in a recent election. But it gets worse: according to prominent Greek newspaper To Vima, a terrifying 50 percent of Greek policemen voted for Golden Dawn in both the May and June parliamentary elections. Half!
Is it true? Maybe, sort of, according to Greek blogger Theodora Oikonomides's much more transparent and detailed analysis of the numbers. Ballots are of course secret in Greece, so there's no way to know for sure how police are voting. But two details of the Greek voting system make it easier to infer: the number of voters assigned to each polling station is small, and police are assigned a polling station based not on where they live but there they work. So a polling station that covers, say, a police precinct office will disproportionately reflect the police vote.
That's not really enough information to calculate exact police voting numbers, as To Vima claims to have done, but it is enough to at least look at trends. And the trend is, as Oikonomides puts it, "astounding." In downtown Athens, for example, most polling stations returned Golden Dawn votes about in line with the national average of 7 percent. But the dozen or so stations clustered around the General Police Directorate received a far higher proportion of votes for Golden Dawn: mostly around 20 or 21 percent, three times the national average.