As the country’s political parties begin to jockey for position in the run-up to next year’s European Parliament and Spanish municipal elections nationwide — the latter seen as a key indicators of voter trending in advance of 2020 national elections – voter preference surveys continue to affirm the rise of centre-right Ciudadanos party at the expense of the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP) and centre-left Socialist party (PSOE).
A poll by Sigma Dos released at the weekend by the newspaper El Mundo shows Ciudadanos with 26.7 percent of vote share, representing a full 10 percent jump since the last Sigma Dos poll in October. The centre-right party’s fortunes appear to be rising to the detriment of the PP, which saw a sharp drop in voter support from 31.4 percent to 23.3 percent during the same period.
The poll results also appear to indicate that Ciudadanos is siphoning off voter sympathy from the PSOE, which saw it’s vote share fall in the Sigma Dos survey from 26 percent in October to 19.7 percent in the latest poll, slightly off the party’s 22.7 percent showing in June 2016 national elections.
The Socialists appear to be more or less maintaining their 2016 level of preference among voters at the expense of leftwing rival Unidos Podemos , which remains off its 2016 national election showing of 21.1 percent at just 18.4 percent in the Sigma Dos poll.
With the caveat that the Sigma Dos poll estimates how voters would cast their ballots if a general election were held today, the survey results appear to be borne out by similar numbers in a survey by polling organization SocioMétrica published in El Español showing that Ciudadanos would win 27.4 percent of the vote in a general election held today, ahead of the PP’s 21.9 percent and the PSOE’s 19.4 percent. Both polls appear to confirm similar voter preferences in recent surveys conducted by Metroscopia for El País and GAD3 for La Vanguardia.
Although Spanish election results in recent years have often varied significantly from pre-election voter surveys, if the most recent round of polling is accurate and the numbers hold through municipal elections next Spring, the result could signal an historic shift in national politics away from the two major legacy parties that have held power between them since Spain’s transition to democracy in the 1980s.
Analysts believe the rise in Ciudadanos’ popularity among Spanish voters is partly due to a positive reverberation nationwide in response to the unequivocal stance of the party against the secessionist movement in Catalonia, Spain’s northwest region currently embroiled in a protracted struggle between pro-independence forces and anti-independence parties led by Ciudadanos, which won the largest number of votes in regional elections in Catalonia in December.
The growth in voter preference for the eight-year-old party is also seen as a positive response to Ciudadanos stance’ against political corruption allegations that continue to plague the governing PP and which under the last Socialist administration of former President Felipe González was instrumental in the PSOE’s loss to the Partido Popular in 1996 national elections.
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