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A NEW FORCE IN POLITICS

Podemos remains Spain’s third biggest political force — CIS survey

New party rises to first in terms of direct voter intention, state research institute poll shows

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias (r) with the party’s Juan Carlos Monedero.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias (r) with the party’s Juan Carlos Monedero. EFE

New party Podemos remains the third biggest political force in Spain, according to a new voter-intention poll carried out by the CIS state research institute. The survey found that if elections were held today, the governing Popular Party (PP) would take 27.5% of the vote, the Socialist Party (PSOE) 23.9%, and Podemos 22.5%.

The poll shows that the PP has lost more than two percentage points while the PSOE has gained 2.7 percentage points. This is the first time that such a survey has been carried out since Pedro Sánchez took control of the PSOE as general secretary over the summer. The gap between Spain’s two biggest parties has also fallen from 8.8 percentage points in July to 3.6 percentage points.

Podemos, which earned a surprising five European Parliament seats in May elections despite only being registered as a group two months before, beat out the PP and PSOE in terms of the direct vote figures, picking up 17.6% in the survey, compared to 11.7% for the PP and 14.3% for the PSOE. Direct vote is based on the spontaneous responses of those surveyed, while voter intention reflects a statistic percentage, calculated on the basis of a number of different variables.

This is the first time that a Spanish party has achieved such a meteoric rise in such a short time

This is the first time in Spanish political history that a party that has existed for such a short time has achieved such a meteoric rise. With just seven months to go before regional and municipal elections and a year before the general election, Podemos’s success over the last eight months is causing great concern among Spain’s main parties. The previous CIS poll, released in July, placed Podemos as the country’s third political force and second in direct voter intention, overtaking the PSOE and ending up less than a percentage point behind the PP.

The poll was carried out last month in the days after Spanish nursing assistant Teresa Romero became the first person to be infected with the Ebola virus in Europe and the Caja Madrid credit card scandal broke. Its findings chime with those of the Metroscopia poll published in EL PAÍS on Sunday, which also found Podemos could be the most voted party with 27% of votes, 1.5 percentage points higher than the Socialists, and seven points more than the ruling PP, which would get no more than 20.7%.

The CIS figures also reflect the party’s rise since July when the PP was still the biggest political force with 30%, the main opposition PSOE was at 21.2% and Podemos on 15.3%, almost double the result of the United Left (8.2%). The centrist Union, Progress & Democracy (UPyD) was shown to have 5.9% support.

Podemos was launched on January 14 with a manifesto that promised to “transform indignation into political change,” and was created by a group of nearly 30 university lecturers, journalists and well-known figures from the worlds of culture and political and social activism. The party has made astute use of television appearances by its members – in particular party leader Pablo Iglesias – and social networking sites to get its message across and win support among the electorate.