Big news today in Spanish politics: For some reason the government funds something called the Center of Sociological Investigation, which is their equivalent of the Gallup Poll. Anyway, the most recent survey on which party Spaniards intend to vote for gives the PP a solid six-point advantage, showing that the mud the Socialists have been slinging (Iraq, the oil spill, the water plan, the education plan, the failed general strike, the problems with the high-speed train) is not sticking, while the circus the Socialists have put on in the Madrid regional Parliament has re-convinced a lot of people that the Socialists are unprofessional and incompetent and not fit to govern.
The stats: PP 41.2%, Socialists 35.2%, Communists 6.3%, Convergence and Union 3.8%, Galician National Bloc 1.5%, Basque Nationalists 1.2%. Aznar has promised to name his successor as PP candidate for Prime Minister within a month; the two big favorites are Rodrigo Rato and Mariano Rajoy. Jaime Mayor Oreja is their man in the Basque Country, Josep Pique is their guy in Catalonia, the incombustible Manuel Fraga is the man in Galicia, and Alberto Ruiz Gallardon is their leader in Madrid. These guys, except Pique, are all heavyweights. The Socialists have nobody comparable.
The Socialist reaction was to accuse the government of manipulating the statistics, of course. The PSOE is drifting; they stand for nothing except for being against Aznar and the PP. They have no program, no proposals, no plans, nada de nada. They are reduced to simply reacting to everything the PP government does.