The two parties that have taken turns governing Spain since 1982 are experiencing their lowest moment. Voter intention polls show that for the first time, the Popular Party (PP) and the Socialist Party (PSOE) have been overtaken by the upstarts Podemos and Ciudadanos.
A Metroscopia survey conducted for EL PAÍS in early May shows that Ciudadanos would be the clear winner if national elections were held today, with 29.1% of the vote. Second place would go to Unidos Podemos, an alliance between Podemos and other leftist parties, with 19.8%. Support for the PP would slip to 19.5%, while the PSOE would come in last with 19% of the vote.
The PP and PSOE are becoming mere secondary actors in Spain’s political life
The results confirm a trend that began in the fall of last year: old parties are on their way down, and new ones are on their way up. Spain’s traditional two-party system has been in crisis mode for years, particularly since Ciudadanos and Podemos entered the political arena on the back of a crippling economic crisis and string of political corruption cases.
But the situation appears to have reached a whole new level in which the PP and PSOE are becoming secondary actors in Spain’s political life. If the trend keeps up, there could be a major upheaval at the next general elections, due in 2020.
This is the fifth consecutive time that Ciudadanos tops voting intention polls. For the first time, however, Unidos Podemos rises to second spot, leaving the two major parties in third and fourth position. The sum of both currently represents 48.9% of the electorate, while the combined support for the PP and PSOE is 38.5%. At the last elections of 2016, the situation was reversed: 34.2% for Ciudadanos and Podemos versus 55.7% for PP and PSOE.
The Metroscopia survey shows that many PP voters are switching to Ciudadanos. Among left-wing voters, only three percent of Socialist voters are giving their allegiance to Podemos, while 10% now favor Ciudadanos. A significant portion also reported having no plans to vote.
Asked if there should be early elections in Spain, 55% of respondents said they should be held as soon as possible, while 40% disagreed. Leftist voters were more likely to support ending Mariano Rajoy’s administration as soon as possible. However, fully 86% of respondents feel that Rajoy’s time as Spain’s leader has ended.
English version by Susana Urra.