It seems that every week we have polls. The latest ones of interest are those that foresee ‘the intention to vote if elections were held now’ polls. Nationally, the latest poll gives the two new parties (we quote El País) the leadership, with C’s (Ciudadanos) with a nine point lead over UP (Union Podemos), but both of these are in front of the PP, lying in third place, and just behind them in fourth, the PSOE.
We can see how the Partido Popular are in trouble, with their endless scandals and (we return to the polls) poor leadership (‘65% of PP voters would prefer that Rajoy gave way to another candidate’), but what of Pedro Sánchez and his PSOE. Wasn’t he chosen in a massive popular swing over the Andalusian Susana Díaz only a few months ago? Indeed, the PSOE considers the latest (depressing) poll results to be ‘conspiranoia’. Good word!
Madrid also has a poll, giving the surprise result that C’s is the largest party and noting that supposed coalition of C’s and PP would wrest control of the ruling Ahora Madrid (a local Podemos offshoot) back to the heady days of growth. The poll comes from El País.
We have also considered the powers of the media to manipulate. The question is, are the polls – so far we have looked at Metroscopia (connected to El País) and Sigma Dos (El Mundo) – themselves manipulative?
‘The surveys that are being currently published are designed to influence rather than report on the results’. The observation comes from El Asterisk here. Polls today are presented as a form of ‘pre-truth’ says the article. ‘The credibility of the El País polls is once again in evidence’, says Podemos referring to a (what turned out to be a wildly wrong) result from two years ago. An article at El Diario called ‘Will free elections be replaced by opinion polls?’ comically notes that El Español must stand outside the doors of the head office of Ciudadanos to conduct its own survey. More seriously, they say: ‘The disparate results of the surveys of these days and their variety of objectives should raise the alarm. Marketing cannot replace politics: demoscopy cannot take the role of democracy’.
Unsure who to vote for in these trying times, the electorate may take some advice from the media and heed what they are told by the polls. It’s not just Russian bots out there helping us to decide...