VIENNA — Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, defiantly resisting mounting pressure to resign over his wartime record, suffered a further setback Saturday after a public opinion poll showed he had lost support of the majority of Austrians.
The poll, commissioned by the conservative Salzburger Nachrichten, showed that 55% of the population would definitely or probably vote against him if elections were held today. The finding came amid signs that Waldheim's political backers are also moving away from him.
The latest survey was the fourth public opinion poll held since an international panel of historians submitted a report on Waldheim's career in the German army during World War II, which concluded that he had not been personally involved in war crimes, but had acquiesced in Nazi atrocities in the Balkans.
The latest poll was the first to show he no longer had the support of the "majority of Austrians" as he claimed earlier this week when he again rejected calls to step down.