The arrival of Alberto Núñez Feijóo as president of the People's Party (PP) after the Spanish right-wing party's dramatic internal crisis in February has so far been a honeymoon in terms of voter support, and the party is still gaining ground on the governing Socialists (PSOE) of Pedro Sánchez. According to the new poll by the CIS, the Spanish public research agency, the PSOE are steady on 30.3% of the vote, the same as in April. Meanwhile, the PP have surged to 28.7%, 1.5% more than in the first survey with Feijóo as party leader, when he had already begun to gain the ground lost by Casado. Thus, right now the difference between the two main parties of the Spanish political establishment is only 1.6 points, when last month it was 3 percent: it has been cut in half.
This is the first poll published by the CIS after the outbreak of the Catalangate scandal and the Pegasus espionage on the cellphones of Pedro Sánchez, Margarita Robles and Fernando Grande-Marlaska, which led to the dismissal of the CNI intelligence head, Paz Esteban, and a new crisis among the members of the coalition government, as Unidas Podemos joined with the pro-independence parties in supporting the creation of a commission of inquiry. Pedro Sánchez has not yet appeared before Congress over this crisis, a month after it broke out, and will not do so until Friday 26th.
Vox rising, Unidas Podemos in free fall
This "Feijóo effect" is not hurting Vox at the moment, which consolidates its third position and reaches its highest level in the legislature, preferred by 16.6% of voters, 2.2% more than in April. The other side of the coin is Unidas Podemos, which is still in free fall and does not even reach double figures (9.6%) in voting intention, according to the latest CIS survey. Since the April poll, the alternative left party has lost another percentage point, as they wait to see how the announced new electoral platform led by the Communist party leader Yolanda Díaz will affect their electoral future. During these weeks, elections have been called for June 19th in Andalusia and Podemos delivered its papers too late to join the left-wing coalition in the voting for the huge southern Spain autonomous community. By blocs, the coalition PSOE-Unidas Podemos government would get only 39.9% of the vote, 5.4 points less than that of the PP and far-right Vox, 45.3%.
The previous poll saw Ciudadanos with an estimated 2% of the Spain-wide vote, and this figure now shrinks even further to 1.8%. It looks like Arrimadas's party has not yet hit rock bottom and could continue to lose support as its rivals on the right, Vox and PP, both grow. On the other hand, Íñigo Errejon's left wing Más País, one of the most reliable allies of the coalition government, remains in the same position as last month: 2.1%. In Catalonia, the Catalangate affair has not had much effect on the vote for the pro-independence parties, but the main loser is the CUP, which loses 0.3%: from 0.9% to 0.6%. ERC would rise 0.1% compared to April (2.5%), and Junts remains steady at 1.2%
Sánchez, favoured for PM
Although the PSOE is stagnant as the PP breathes down its neck in the race for voter support, Pedro Sánchez remains the choice of prime minister preferred by Spaniards. According to the CIS, 19.5% of respondents prefer him as the head of the executive, while 16.6% choose Feijóo to take on the role. Far behind is Yolanda Díaz, with 10.5% of the support. Nevertheless, second deputy PM Díaz is the most valued politician and the only one of all the Spanish party leaders who gets a pass mark, albeit with a very marginal 5.05. She is followed by Feijóo (4.86) and Sánchez (4.28).