Survey predicts comfortable election win for Popular Party

Socialist candidate Rubalcaba has lost ground after constitutional reform

A new Metroscopia survey for EL PAÍS has found that the Socialists' prospects in the upcoming general elections are indeed bleak and justifies the permanent state of euphoria of the Popular Party these days.

Just three months to go before the elections, the survey found that Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba has not managed to narrow the gap against his opponent and has lost ground since the constitutional reform, leaving expectations of a comfortable majority for PP leader Mariano Rajoy.

According to the survey, the PP's lead, at 14.1 points, has not weakened. The party looks set to win more than 185 seats, ten more than is needed for an absolute majority. The survey also showed that 81 percent of Socialist voters are expecting a resounding defeat.

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The extreme pessimism of these voters has even worried some PP leaders, who prefer a weakened PSOE opposition to facing a full-on social confrontation like that put up by the 15-M movement without a left-wing party by their side.

In addition, the disinterest of Socialist voters, who have nearly given up the election as a lost cause, does not augur well for voter turnout in the upcoming ballot. According to Metroscopia, Socialist voter participation may fall to 70 percent, five points below 2008, and similar to levels in 2000, when José María Aznar won an absolute majority.

The situation has been further worsened by Rubalcaba's inability to distance himself from the negative image of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. While 53 percent of Socialist voters in last month's survey felt Rubalcaba had a clear plan, now only 37 percent believe this.

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