LOCAL ELECTIONS 2015

PP and Ahora Madrid headed for technical tie in mayoral race

Veteran candidate Esperanza Aguirre facing tough competition from Manuela Carmena Latest Metroscopia poll for EL PAÍS reveals need for coalition for either to become mayor

Graph showing the projected vote at Sunday's municipal elections in Madrid, according to a Metroscopia poll carried out for EL PAÍS.
Graph showing the projected vote at Sunday's municipal elections in Madrid, according to a Metroscopia poll carried out for EL PAÍS.

The upcoming mayoral elections in Madrid will result in an technical tie between Popular Party (PP) candidate Esperanza Aguirre and Ahora Madrid hopeful Manuela Carmena, according to a Metroscopia poll carried out for EL PAÍS.

Aguirre, who is also the regional head of the PP, would secure 19 seats in the city council and 29.7% of the vote. Carmena, who is a former judge and is running for a group with links to emerging anti-austerity party Podemos, would win 17 seats and 27.8% of the votes. That’s a difference of 1.9 points between the two.

Just two weeks ago, Aguirre had a lead of 10.3 points in the polls.

If the polls are correct, it will be a tight race between the veteran Aguirre and the newcomer Carmena on Sunday

The campaign does not seem to be going as well as expected for Aguirre, who was handpicked by PP Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Madrid City Hall has been a PP stronghold for the last 24 years, but the party seems to be losing some of its appeal in the race against Manuela Carmena.

Carmena, a little-known figure before her candidacy was announced, is increasingly appealing to voters according to this latest poll.

Ahora Madrid is the result of a coalition between Podemos and other emerging parties such as Ganemos and Equo, as well as former members of United Left (IU). The latter, a traditional left-wing coalition, has struggled to retain a meaningful presence in politics since the emergence of these new anti-austerity groups, which were born out of the 15-M popular protest movement.

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In fact, according to the Metroscopia survey, just 18.8% of those who voted for IU at the last mayoral elections will do so again on Sunday. A total of 58% of IU voters will be switching to Ahora Madrid.

Meanwhile, those who voted for the Socialist Party (PSOE) at the last elections are the most unsure, according to the survey. Just over 20% of those who voted PSOE last time around still don’t know who they’ll vote for on Sunday. One in four, however, have already decided on Ahora Madrid. One in three will be sticking with the Socialists.

If the polls prove to be accurate, Aguirre would be forced to seek a pact with emerging force Ciudadanos if she wants to be mayor – 29 seats are required for an absolute majority. That would give her one more seat than a potential coalition between Ahora Madrid and the Socialists (PSOE).

Just two weeks ago, the difference between those groups was much greater: 32 seats for the PP and Ciudadanos, compared to 25 between Ahora Madrid and PSOE. If the polls are correct, it will be a tight race between the veteran Aguirre and the newcomer Carmena at Sunday’s vote.