Greek anti-bailout leftists regain opinion poll lead

ATHENS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Greece's leftist opposition party has regained a narrow lead over the ruling conservatives, an opinion poll published on Saturday said.

The survey by Pulse for the 6 Imeres newspaper also showed Greeks divided over their government's tough stance against strike action.

It put support for Syriza at 24 percent, giving it a 1.5 percentage-point lead over New Democracy but still within the margin of error of 2.7 percent. That compares to 29.6 percent for New Democracy and 26.9 percent for Syriza in a parliamentary vote last June.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's New Democracy party and the anti-bailout Syriza have been neck-and-neck in recent polls.

"(The poll) does not show a clear trend or direction, nor does any party currently display the type of momentum that could lead to a serious reversal," Pulse head Yorgos Arapoglou wrote in the newspaper.

New Democracy trailed Syriza for months since parliamentary the June 17 vote but managed to grab an opinion poll lead in January after securing international bailout funds to avert bankruptcy and end uncertainty over Greece's future in the euro.

Samaras has since been eager to show the country's lenders - the European Union and International Monetary Fund - that he is sticking to reforms promised in exchange for aid and that he is also facing down powerful unions.

Twice during its eight-month rule, the government threatened striking seamen and subway workers with arrest, ordering them back to the job under an emergency law invoked in cases of civil disorder, natural disasters or public health risks.

Despite paralysing public transport in the capital and causing food shortages on islands, the poll found Greeks were equally divided over the coalition's stance on strike action, with 45 percent disagreeing and 44 percent agreeing. (Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Angus MacSwan)