An opinion poll puts Spain’s radical new formation Podemos (We Can) in third position with 15% of people surveyed indicating backing for the party led by the ponytailed 35-year-old university lecturer Pablo Iglesias.
Pollster CIS found that 14.6% of people supported Podemos, almost double the 8% the fourth-month old party garnered in the European elections, and ahead of the traditional force of the radical left, Izquierda Unida, with 11%.
The ruling Popular Party (PP) and the Socialists (PSOE) both scored 24.4% compared to 26.06% and 23% respectively in the elections to the European parliament.
Smaller centrist parties generally did badly: UPyD, founded in 2007, scored just 2.8% against 6.5% in the European elections; Ciudadanos (Citizens) which took 3.16% of the vote in the last election, polled just 1.7%.
When those polled were asked which were the most debated issues in the campaign, the top two were the economy (20.06%) and unemployment (7.1%). And following on from this question, which party or coalition was closer to the their positions on these matters, the PP took first place with 16%, with Podemos second, but only just, at 15.8%, and ahead of the PSOE, at 14.13%. Izquierda Unida scored 5.8% and UPyD to 2.6%.
But returning to the headline figures – taking Podemos and Izquerida Unida’s support together – this poll indicates that now 26% of the electorate are backing parties that want a radical new progressive direction for Spain. That’s the kind of support commanded by Syriza, a broad coalition of radical left forces in Greece that would likely win an election if called today.
The two Spanish parties are in the same European Left grouping in the European Parliament – but are highly suspicious of each other at home. So what’s the chances they bury their differences – on key policies, such a reigning in the banks and returning power to the people they are very close – and work together for a real alternative in Spain?