The 'NO' campaign to reject Greece's bailout is in the lead -- and that could mean Greece leaving the euro

A giant banner protesting Greece's austerity measures hangs near the Parthenon on Acropolis hill in Athens early May 4, 2010. A group of demonstrators from Greece's communist party, KKE, staged the protest atop the Acropolis as Athens braced for a 48-hour nationwide strike by civil servants which would also include the shutdown of travel services. REUTERS/Pascal RossignolA giant banner protesting Greece’s austerity measures hangs near the Parthenon on Acropolis hill in Athens early May 4, 2010.

ATHENS, Greece — Greece is on course to vote “No” in its referendum on Sunday July 5, rejecting the bailout deal proposed by the country’s creditors, according to polls this morning.

The survey, conducted between June 27 and June 30, showed 54% of people planning to vote No and 33% planning to vote Yes, according to Reuters.

That’s would be a healthy majority in favour of rejecting the bailout (it would be more like 62% voting No if the “Don’t Know” option was stripped out of the poll).

But there’s a catch — people who expressed an opinion before the banks shuttered were more certain — at that point 57% would have voted No against just 30% who would have voted Yes.

People who were surveyed after banks closed were still in favour of a No vote, but by only 46% to 37%.

That result would still hand a win to the No side, but with 17% of people who didn’t express an opinion, there would be enough undecided voters to swing it.

Significant majorities of Greek voters are both anti-austerity and pro-euro, but the referendum will force many people to choose between the two. Voting Yes means the country is more likely to keep the euro, but must accept the painful austerity and economic reforms favoured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and other eurozone countries.

Voting No means not accepting the unpopular austerity — but it may also mean abandoning the euro.

Two things happened overnight — Greece went into arrears on a debt repayment to the IMF, missing a June 30 deadline, and joining a small club with Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. And secondly, the country’s bailout programme ended.

There’s a huge amount of confusion surrounding the deal on the table. Yesterday, there were rumours that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would fly to Brussels to negotiate a deal with EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, but that never happened. Since Greece’s bailout programme has now expired, it’s not even clear if the bailout deal exists as an offer any more.

According to a report from Bloomberg yesterday, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble thinks Greece could stay in the euro even if it votes No. Though Schaeuble is usually seen as one of the Greek government’s biggest opponents, reassurance that Greece will remain in the currency union either way might help support the campaign for a No vote.

Jonathan Loynes at Capital Economics took a gloomy view of the possibilities from the referendum (emphasis his):

It would be wrong to conclude that even a Yes vote would bring the Greek crisis to an end and guarantee the country’s future inside the euro-zone. Aside from the political upheaval such an outcome is likely to trigger, it is not clear exactly what sort of deal it would ultimately lead to. It is possible that the creditors will try to punish Greece for not accepting their proposals before by withdrawing some recent concessions, in which case negotiations might yet break down again.

Both sides have held massive rallies already: the anti-bailout side on Monday, and the pro-bailout side on Tuesday. The only thing that seems guaranteed at the moment is that there’ll be a lot more drama to come.

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