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Opinion polls give Spanish premier edge over opposition leader in election debate

Opinion polls give Spanish premier edge over opposition leader in election debate

Opinion polls Tuesday indicated Spain's Socialist Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero scored a narrow win over conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy in the first of two television debates before next month's election.
A poll carried out by Metroscopia for left-leaning daily El Pais said 46 percent of people questioned said they thought Zapatero won Monday night's debate against 42 percent for Rajoy. Twelve percent saw it as a draw. The margin of error was 5 percentage points.
In the debate, the two leaders clashed on the economy, Basque separatism and immigration. It was the first pre-election debate between party leaders in 15 years. A second is scheduled for March 3, six days before the election.
The newspaper El Mundo's Sigma Dos poll showed a similar assessment of the men's performance with 45.5 percent behind Zapatero compared with 42 percent for Rajoy. It also had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.
Polls carried out for three private television channels also showed similar scores.
Some 13 million viewers tuned in to see the debate, making it one of the most watched TV programs in the history of Spanish television, according to ratings agency Barlovento Comunicacion.
Most surveys before the March 9 election have showed the Socialists with a thin margin over the conservative Popular Party, but the two parties are in a statistical dead heat.
Zapatero and Rajoy bombarded viewers with statistics on everything from the price of eggs to funding for university scholarships as they argued over the state of this deeply polarized country.
They interrupted each other often, did a lot of head-shaking and at one point engaged in what verged on a shouting match over failed peace talks with the armed Basque separatist group ETA.
Their tone was often aggressive, but there were no personal insults, and neither committed a major gaffe or scored a knockout punch.
El Pais said in an editorial that voters hoping for new reasons to pick one party or the other came away empty handed, calling the debate "a dialogue of the deaf."
Political consultant Jose Luis Sanchis, who has run many political campaigns in Spain, said neither proposed new ideas. The incumbent may have mobilized Socialist supporters to get out and vote, and Rajoy may have reaffirmed his leadership. But neither managed to grab voters from the other's camp.
"So the result was a goalless draw. Neither of them scored," Sanchis wrote in El Mundo.


Updated : 2021-03-08 06:47 GMT+08:00