Greeks would prefer a national unity government ruling for several months during the debt crisis to the prospect of an early general election, polls published on Saturday found.

A poll by ALCO, commissioned by Proto Thema newspaper, showed 52 percent of the public in favour of the unity government plan put forward by Prime Minister George Papandreou, while 36 percent want snap elections as sought by the conservative opposition.

Another poll commissioned by Ethnos newspaper found a narrower gap, with 45 percent supporting a unity government and 42 percent supporting an early election.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is considered most capable of leading the ruling PASOK party and ensuring its unity, according to 34 percent of PASOK voters, compared with 10 percent for Papandreou, the ALCO poll found.

Among the general public, 24 percent favoured Venizelos whereas just 5 percent think Papandreou is suitable for the job, putting him in third place after Health Minister Andreas Loverdos.

The polls were published a day after Papandreou won a confidence vote in parliament on promises that he was willing to step down and pave the way for a broad coalition government to push through a bailout agreement Greece needs to stick to in order to avert bankruptcy.

The leaders of France and Germany have told Papandreou that Athens would not receive any more aid unless it approves the 130 billion euro bailout, meaning Greece would run out of cash in December.

Greeks are exasperated by the political wrangling between PASOK and the opposition New Democracy party, which have yet to agree on the terms and timeframe of a possible coalition government.

Papandreou has not made clear when he would step down.

The Proto Thema poll showed that 79 percent of the public would not give their government a vote of confidence, against 13 percent who would.

Earlier in the week, Papandreou announced a shock decision to hold a referendum on the bailout. He retreated from the proposal under international pressure.

According to the ALCO poll, 79 percent of the public think the referendum was a bad idea and only 12 percent support it.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris)