ATHENS, March 14 (Reuters) - Greece's ruling conservatives and rival leftists are running neck-and-neck ahead of European elections in May, while a new party set up by a Greek journalist has quickly shot up to third place behind them, a poll showed on Friday.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' co-ruling New Democracy party and the main opposition Syriza party would both get 15.5 percent of the vote if EU elections due in May were held now, the poll conducted by Public Issue for the Efimerida ton Synakton newspaper showed.
To Potami (The River), launched by a well-known Greek TV journalist barely three weeks ago, was in third place with 7 percent, according to the poll, a surprisingly strong showing for a new movement.
More than 40 percent of those polled refused to say how they would vote or were undecided, but more than two thirds of 1,004 respondents said they would vote in the May elections.
The EU elections will coincide with a crucial local municipal vote. Both ballots are being closely watched as a test of support for Samaras' fragile coalition which is implementing austerity in the face of popular resistance.
Backing for the Communist KKE Party stood at 5 percent, the survey showed. The far-right Golden Dawn party, which entered parliament for the first time in 2012, tapping into Greeks' anger over a political elite largely blamed for the crisis, ranked fifth, held 4.5 percent.
Support for the Socialist PASOK party, Samaras' coalition partner, stood at 3.5 pct, well below the 12.3 percent it got in the 2012 national election. (Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Sophie Hares)
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