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POLITICS

Popular Party and Podemos seen by voters as most radical groups

New Metroscopia poll for EL PAÍS reveals that Socialists considered to be moderate option

Anabel Díez
Prime Minister Rajoy (c), earlier this year in Pamplona.
Prime Minister Rajoy (c), earlier this year in Pamplona.EFE

Attempts the governing Popular Party (PP) to portray the opposition Socialists (PSOE) as a “radical” group have not taken root in the collective imagination of the Spanish public. What’s more, voters from all parties consider the PP itself, along with emerging leftist party Podemos, as radical political parties. That’s according to a Metroscopia poll carried out for EL PAÍS, which reveals that 66% of respondents see the PSOE as not very or not at all radical, compared to 43% for the PP and 24% for Podemos.

According to the survey, the Socialists are perceived to be the least radical, even among PP voters

“A puppet and supporter of radicals and populists.” That was how the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy of the PP, recently described the leader of the Socialist Party, Pedro Sánchez. The PP leader’s tone and barbs have been ramped up since the PSOE sought pacts with Podemos to form governments in the wake of regional and local elections in May that saw many results without clear majorities – in Madrid, for example, Podemos-backed Ahora Madrid took City Hall thanks to a deal with the PSOE.

Pablo Iglesias, leader of Spain's anti-austerity party Podemos.
Pablo Iglesias, leader of Spain's anti-austerity party Podemos.ANDREA COMAS (REUTERS)

During the election campaign ahead of those polls, the PP warned the electorate that voting for the PSOE would have the long-term effect of allowing Podemos to impose its policies. Since those governments took shape, the PP has been trying to tar the PSOE with an extremist brush.

But as the poll reveals, that strategy has had little success. In fact, according to the survey, the Socialists are perceived to be the least radical, even among PP voters, 47% of whom say they think the party is not very or not at all radical.

In contrast, the PSOE and emerging center-right party Ciudadanos are seen as moderate options by the Spanish electorate. Just 26% of potential voters for the latter party believe the group to be very radical, while in the case of the Socialists, 86% of their potential voters say the group is not very or not at all radical.

The poll was carried out 10 days after the formation of regional governments in which the Socialists took power thanks to votes from Podemos, and several weeks after Ahora Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena took office in the Spanish capital.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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