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Ciudadanos would now be Spain’s most voted party, new survey shows

Metroscopia poll for EL PAÍS shows PP, PSOE and Podemos trailing behind Albert Rivera’s party

Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera.
Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera. EL PAÍS

If general elections were held in Spain now, Ciudadanos would be the most-voted party, according to a new voter intention survey by pollster Metroscopia for EL PAÍS.

Albert Rivera’s party, which burst into the political scene during the economic crisis with a message of reform, would secure 27.1% of the vote, followed by the Popular Party (PP) with 23.2% and the Socialist Party (PSOE) with 21.6%. Podemos, the other protest party to emerge from the crisis, would come in fourth with 15.1% of support.

This break with decades of two-party politics opens up possibilities for different majorities

The Metroscopia survey reflects a collective state of mind at a given point in time. At this time, there is nothing to suggest that Spain is going to hold early elections, nor are voters feeling the tension that comes before such a ballot.

But it is significant that for the first time, Ciudadanos shows up very clearly at the top of voter intention.

A lot of that has to do with the party’s resounding success at the Catalan elections of December 21, when its local candidate, Inés Arrimadas, won the most votes and the most seats with a strongly pro-unity message (even if secessionist forces collectively secured enough seats for a parliamentary majority).

Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party has recenlty lost many voters to Ciudadanos.
Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party has recenlty lost many voters to Ciudadanos. EFE

The survey shows that many citizens appreciated Ciudadanos’ clear, uninhibited position in defense of Spain’s constitutional framework and against secession. Asked which party has an adequate project for the future of Spain, 44% of respondents answered “Ciudadanos.” The conservative PP trailed far behind at 20%.

This perception held true to varying degrees among supporters of other parties: among PP voters, 68% feel that Ciudadanos has a clear national project, compared with 58% who feel the same way about the PP itself. Among PSOE voters, 44% feel that Ciudadanos has a strong plan for the future of the country, compared with 43% who think the Socialists’ project is better.

The voter intention survey shows that Ciudadanos would be the most voted party in a majority of cities and towns with a population of 2,000 and over. It would also secure the greatest support across age groups and economic brackets.

Eroding support for the PP

Juan José Mateo

The survey shows that nearly half the voters who supported Mariano Rajoy in the 2016 general elections have ceased supporting his Popular Party. The rise of Ciudadanos is eroding the government’s voter base: in November, 68% of PP voters said they would renew their support for the conservative party at the next elections. But this new survey shows this figure has dropped to 54%.

This break with decades of two-party politics, when the PP and PSOE took turns in government, opens up possibilities for different parliamentary majorities. One would be a center-right coalition of Ciudadanos and PP (50.3% of the vote), another a center-left alignment of Ciudadanos and PSOE (48.7%).

The data shows that Ciudadanos is taking votes away chiefly from the PP (23%) but also from the PSOE (13%) and Podemos (5%). Voter loyalty is very high at 81%: most of the people who voted for them in 2016 would do so again now.

Albert Rivera also tops the approval ratings, followed by Pedro Sánchez of the PSOE, Mariano Rajoy of the PP and Pablo Iglesias of Podemos.

English version by Susana Urra.

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