Unidos Podemos leaves Socialists behind, takes second place in polls

The Popular Party emerges as leader in latest survey thanks to likely abstention of voters at June 26 elections

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.SAMUEL SÁNCHEZ

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stood firm over the last six months, maintaining the PP’s lead in the polls. If elections were held today, he would take 28.5% of the vote, just 1.5% off the margin his party’s strategists need. What’s more, PP voters are traditionally loyal (78% of them say they will be supporting Rajoy in three weeks time).

The PP and Unidos Podemos know that voters have short memories, and they can each count on a loyal and motivated constituency

At the other end of the political spectrum, Unidos Podemos is in a similar position. Despite public perceptions that Podemos has blocked efforts to form a government, supporters of the coalition led by Pablo Iglesias and Alberto Garzón have rallied (78% say they will repeat their vote on June 26), giving it a 25.6% share of the vote according to Sunday’s Metroscopia poll (5.4% ahead of the PSOE).

The PP and Unidos Podemos know that voters have short memories and that despite their failure to reach consensus and form a government over the last six months, they can each count on a loyal and motivated constituency. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría has effectively admitted that she prefers Iglesias as a rival, finding it easier to explain to voters the dangers she sees a Podemos government posing for Spain, while Rajoy has openly questioned whether his main rival is Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez. In turn, Unidos Podemos has successfully established itself as the only alternative to a third consecutive PP government, with Iglesias calling on “the old social democrats” that traditionally have supported the PSOE to decide who they are going to support on June 26.

The PSOE finds itself in its most difficult position since Spain returned to democracy four decades ago

The PSOE finds itself in its most difficult position since Spain returned to democracy four decades ago. The possibility of losing its position as the voice of the left in Spain is very real as it finds itself sandwiched between two powerful rivals. What was once its strength: occupying the center-left ground where the majority of Spanish voters are to be found, has now become its weakness in an increasingly polarized fight. The Metroscopia poll gives the Socialists 20.2% of the vote, almost two points down from its result in December, putting it in a distant third place after the PP and Unidos Podemos: on the morning of June 27, it would still have a role to play in the formation of any government, but would not be in a position to take the initiative.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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