Here's your periodical Spanish Elections Update. With twenty days to go until the countrywide municipal elections and regional elections in 13 of the 17 autonomous regions, a Vanguardia poll shows the Socialists with a three-point lead, 42.3%-39.3%, over José María Aznar's PP, were a general election to be held tomorrow. The Communist United Left would pull 6.1%, Catalan nationalists Convergence and Union 3.2%, the Basque Nationalist Party 1.5%, and "others" 7.6%. The Vangua doesn't give us any info on sample size or any of that stuff, so we have to figure there's a three-point margin of error and the two big parties are effectively tied in their GENERAL appeal to the public.
Then, of course, these are municipal and regional elections, not generals, so voters will be considering the local candidates' records and personalities as well as those of the party leadership. Due to the excellent results obtained by the PP in all elections since 1996, it has more local and regional incumbents than the Socialists, and incumbents have a definite advantage. Also, the PP consistently and historically does a couple of points better in the ballot boxes than in the surveys.
Nothing to worry about, guys. No need to panic. Things are actually looking pretty good. How good? Well, since "it's the economy, stupid", only 25% of Spaniards said that they thought the economic situation was "bad" or "very bad"--49% said it was "good" or "very good"--, and 52% of them said that they had a "generally favorable" opinion of the Government's record over the past several years that it has been in power. 38% had a "generally unfavorable" opinion.
Those statistics demonstrate that the Spanish people are, for the most part, pretty content with the way things are and the way things are going. There is no huge, angered mob of radicalized voters pissed off about the education bill and the oil spill and the war and all the unpopular measures the government has taken recently.
As for the war, 27% of Spaniards now say they approve of the Spanish Government's policy regarding the war. That's way up from the 4% they were talking about in the days leading up to it. As more and more negative stuff about Saddam keeps coming out, and it seems like every day they find a new mass grave, more and more people are going to remember having actually been in favor of the war. 36% are willing to say that "After the war, Spain's international standing will be much better or better", and 38% will allow that "Now that the war is over, its consequences will be generally positive". This is a genuine swing in public opinion. There are now enough Spanish people willing to recognize that the Yanks were right and Saddam had to go that you can actually hear discussions in the cafés and on the streets, rather than just general "no war" agreement. Even in Barcelona, which is so far-left politically correct that the chairman of the Stock Exchange used to be the boss of the Republican Left of Catalonia party.