Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Ertzaintza, the Basque regional police, arrested two of the etarras on the most wanted list; they were apparently part of ETA's shelter apparatus, hiding out other etarras on the run. Good. Keep the pressure on these bastards.

Duran Lleida isn't campaigning today either. Hope he's OK.

El Pais has an election survey out today, giving the PSOE 42.9% of the vote and 165-169 seats, and the PP 38.8% and 148-154 seats. Neither party would have an absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies, where 176 seats are needed. The Communists would get only four seats. CiU would get 9 seats, ERC 5-6, the PNV 7, and Coalition Canaria 2-3. According to these figures, the PSOE will probably be able to form a government with CiU.

One caveat: The survey was taken between Feb. 8 and 27, so some of the results are a month old, and almost all of them are pre-debate.

Prediction: It'll be closer than this, because of the hidden PP vote: it's so socially unacceptable in some places to admit, even to a pollster, that you are a conservative, that people lie about it. Besides, Zap is not very popular, and though he has the incumbent's advantage, Rajoy has another week to campaign and another chance at a knockout blow in the second debate.

Backing up my presentiment is an ABC survey, which gives the PSOE a 42%-40% lead over the PP, though it does not go into the distribution of seats in Congress. Their survey was taken over the past week. ABC, a generally pro-PP newspaper, says 1) inflation and unemployment have angered many voters 2) 80% of those who voted PP in 2004 will do the same, while the figure is only 68% for the PSOE 3) it appears that late deciders are trending PP 4) turnout is expected to be 70%, six points lower than in 2004, which favors the PP since its voters are more loyal 5) the most important issues to the voters are: the economic crisis, unemployment, terrorism, immigration, and housing. The PSOE is vulnerable on all these issues.

Campaign promises: Rajoy said he'd exempt people earning less than €16,000 a year from all income taxes. Zap said the damn water plan was dead and buried.

I suppose you saw that the crazy French actress who won the Academy Award gave an interview saying that 9-11 was a government plot and that the moon landing was faked. I don't think she's all that beautiful, either. In contrast, Angelina Jolie went to Iraq and said some very sensible things, and Bob Geldof again praised the Bush administration's commitment to Africa. By the way, they interviewed Tom Hanks over here a couple of weeks ago, and the interviewer tried to get him to spout off about politics; Hanks didn't take the bait, and said he was concerned about education and health care.

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