THE Partido Popular dismissed claims that its advantage over the PSOE socialists had narrowed to 7.1 points. “The CIS never gets it right,” said Jose Luis Ayllon, secretary general of the parliamentary PP party, although this was “very good news” according to his PSOE counterpart, Eduardo Madina.
With the PSOE continually trailing the PP in popularity, there was comfort for the socialists in the results of an official survey by the CIS (Sociological Research Institute) carried out between July 4 and 11. It found that 36 per cent would vote PSOE, compared with 43.1 per cent for the PP, although this figure was queried by Ayllon.
Any interpretation of the CIS results required “the utmost prudence” he warned, citing last May’s local and regional polls. Not only had they demonstrated Spain’s “enormous confidence” in the PP, but their outcome consistently contradicted earlier CIS forecasts. He also questioned the “Rubalcaba effect” now that the former Interior minister and vice-president was the PSOE’s presidential candidate. On the contrary, Ayllon declared, this should be renamed “the Rubalcaba defect.”
But not all voters would agree with Ayllon over this. When asked by the CIS who would make the best president, 39.9 per cent named Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba against 31.9 per cent in favour of the PP leader, Mariano Rajoy.
Only 2.5 per cent said that Rajoy inspired confidence, compared with 5.9 per cent for Rubalcaba. Rubalcaba also consistently outscored Rajoy on openness to dialogue, efficiency, negotiating capacity and understanding of Spain’s problems.