Data and charts to understand 23-J: Catalonia, the foreign vote and back to 2019

Sunday’s election again leaves a complex mathematical process. The balance between left and right wasn’t all that different from 2019, in aggregate, but voting for regions has changed. Below we review eight key facts.

1. The 23-J result took us back to 2019: The blue wave didn’t hit and the vote was closer then

Four years ago the blocs were practically counting the votes. In April Left won by nine tenths and in November by two lengths. A week ago, the expectation was that the right would prevail by a margin – by four, six points or more – in the wake of the wave that has risen in regional elections in the past three years. But this did not happen: the sum of PP and Vox beat the sum of PSOE and Sumar, but only by 1.5 points. Spain, as a whole, has voted in a similar way as it did four years ago.

2. What now? possible majority

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The election result produced diabolical arithmetic, with no clear majority for the People’s Party or the Socialist Party. Popular Seats does not add 176 seats with Vox, nor with virtual support from the Canary Islands Alliance and UPN. They need to convince another party – be it PSOE, Sumar, PNV or Junts – of something a priori inconceivable.

There are no easy ways to PSOE. Even repeating all support in the form of an affirmative vote or abstention for 2019 – with Sumar, PNV, BNG, ERC and Bildu – remains 172 seats, still far from a majority. his replacement? You also have votes or abstentions from Junts to achieve inauguration.

3. The shift to the right was different by society: severe in some, weak in others, and non-existent in Catalonia

The main surprise was the elections. In some areas the right has grown strongly, such as Galicia Alberto Núñez Viejo (which moves eight points in this direction), Andalusia, La Rioja or Madrid.

In other areas, the balance remained more stable, with the right advancing only between two points and nothing.

The change in Catalonia was just the opposite. There the PSOE and Sumar’s left have a 12-point lead over the right since the last election. This growth, in a community of nearly eight million people, helped the left to offset much of the losses in the rest of the regions.

4. PSOE rose 14 points in Catalonia

The People’s Party grew throughout Spain, as might be expected, benefiting from the disappearance of Ciudadanus, the weakness of the Vox and the small step forward from the electorate of the Right. But PSOE has also been able to grow in many areas. He did this in Cantabria – where the PRC did not appear – in the Valencian region, and especially in the four Catalan provinces, pushing the sum of the left.

5. Vox suffers a big penalty in seats, not so much in votes

Santiago Abascal’s party lost a third of its seats, dropping from 52 to 33, but the drop in votes is smaller: it lost just 20% of its support. In other words, far-right voters are still one in eight Spaniards.

His loss of seats is part of the responsibility of the electoral system. In 2019, with the People’s Party and Ciudadanos weakened in the right-wing bloc, Vox was more competitive in the minor districts, with four or fewer MPs. If they won eight seats from those provinces, they are now left with one seat. In the vote, Fox fell behind where he was stronger: in Murcia (6 points), Huelva (6), Cadiz (6), Almeria (5.5), Malaga (5).


Between one election and another, the People’s Party has managed to grow a lot in provinces such as Navarre, Ourense, Asturias and much of Catalonia. Instead, he suffered setbacks in the provinces in which he was most powerful, such as Almería or Málaga.

PSOE declined sharply in the regions of Andalusia, Extremadura, and Castilla-La Mancha. In contrast, it has grown more than ten points in Catalonia, Navarra, Cantabria and part of the Basque Country.

7. Surveys? They weren’t bad

Private polls overestimated the strength of the right, which was already prevalent, but did so by 1.5 points and not by 5.5 as our average said, nor by 4 which the last 40dB poll gave. (which would have been better).

next to, probabilistic model which we published in El País proved useful in conveying justified uncertainty: He warned that the possibility of PP and Vox not getting a majority was a very real possibilitysomething we attribute about half of the options to, which is a probability of 40%.

With regard to the Commonwealth of Independent States, It was about as accurate as average, but still skewed. Although the left was surprised by its good results, the CIS again overestimated it. Your last survey flash He said that the left would win by 4.5 points and could rule with less support than in 2019, but in fact the right won by 1.5 points and this majority is impossible. Since José Félix Tezanos came to the CIS leadership, the center has overestimated votes from the left in 36 of 37 elections.

8. There are still seats at stake for the foreign vote

Until Friday, July 28, the results of the vote of Spaniards living abroad (CERA vote) will not be known. Can these votes add or remove seats from one of the blocs?

The following chart shows seats that were tight after the residents’ votes were counted (in person and by mail). For example, PP in Madrid was 1,750 votes behind the last one allocated to PSOE. CERA votes in 2019 distributed 8425 votes to PSOE, 7140 to PP and 3840 to Ciudadanos.

This year, for the first time since 2011, the foreign vote has not been requested in Spain and is expected to be higher than in previous elections. This system has reduced expatriate participation so much that in November 2019, only 6.8% of Spaniards living abroad, about 144,000 people, voted. In the last election without a vote request, the March 2008 election, 32% voted.

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