The continuing austerity cuts, introduced by the previous Socialist Party administration, and deepened by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, are prompting growing numbers of Spaniards to turn their backs on the two main political parties, according to the latest opinion poll carried out by Metroscopia on behalf of EL PAÍS and published on Sunday.
Support for the Socialist Party has been at an all-time low since before last November’s general elections, but the latest poll shows that following the government’s decision to cut 65 billion euros from the public deficit through a combination of cuts and tax hikes, support for the Popular Party (PP) has lost seven points over the last month. If elections were held tomorrow, it would still win, but without an absolute majority, and by just 5.3 points ahead of the Socialist Party.
This would give the PP around 30 percent of the vote, reflecting a 14.6 percent drop in support over the last eight months, a decline in popularity unmatched in Spain’s modern political history.
But the Socialist Party has failed to make capital out of voter disenchantment with the government, and support has risen by just 1.3 percent. The Metroscopia poll shows that voters have not forgiven the opposition for its handling of the crisis when in office.
The fall in support for the PP is most notable among its own traditional voters, who say that they are disappointed that the party reneged on its election promises not to raise taxes, along with other measures it criticized the Socialist Party for implementing.
The PP’s has fallen by 16 points in less than one month. PP voters said they would abstain in the next election or spoil their vote.
Dissatisfaction with the two main parties could lead to a sharp decline in voting numbers at the next elections.
There is a growing mood that neither party has anything different to offer. The United Left’s vote has increased, and according to the survey, would garner around 12 percent of the vote in an election tomorrow. The centrist UPyD, which is campaigning for a complete overhaul of the system, would win around 10 percent.
As with former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2010, voters believe that the current incumbent is largely improvising, but that the opposition has even less idea of how to handle the crisis.