Until the last vote

Meditation trip. Perhaps this is another archaic piece of our electoral legislation, such as the one that prohibits the publication of opinion polls during the last week of the campaign… In the country in Europe that publishes the highest number of opinion polls each month!

Since the transition to democracy was agreed upon in difficult times—in the troubled times of the present, make no mistake—the Reflection Day was intended as a safety valve to calm morale. It was about preventing the hot campaign from getting to the polls, unlike what happens in countries with deep democratic traditions like the United Kingdom, for example.

I remember the Scottish independence referendum, a very tense day, on 18 September 2014, with Yes and No supporters handing out propaganda in polling station queues in Edinburgh, without any rioting.

The Day of Reflection was intended as a safety valve in a country where the dictatorship had concocted the myth that Spaniards were not “ready” for democracy. For now, Reflection Day could have a more therapeutic benefit: Some peace of mind after the digital blitzkrieg.

Let me make some brief remarks as a conclusion to this campaign.

The campaign revolved obsessively around truth and lies. The increasingly blurred boundaries between reality lie in complex and highly interconnected societies. However, the struggle between truth and lies is a very old dialectic that is the basis of all political struggles. Truth and lies have defined Spanish political history for the past twenty years. Echoes of the tragic elections that took place in March 2004. These elections are about trust in those who rule and who aspire to rule.

gold medal. No candidate on the left would have campaigned alive with these images on their backs.

Surveys. Spain is currently the European country in which the most surveys are published. Watch the graphic shown in the vlog. During the first semester of 2023, an average of three weekly political opinion polls were published in this country. Between 1 and 17 July, the deadline for the publication of the poll According to the current electoral law, 105 polls have been published in Spain, an average of … six polls per day! Nothing like this happens in any other European country.

Demoscopic consensus. The accumulation of opinion polls facilitates a phenomenon known as “population consensus”, consisting of the convergence of diagnoses. When making elective projections, professionals tend to bring their diagnoses too mainstream for fear of error. We are talking about a sector dominated by small companies with a limited number of customers, who have been able to reduce costs thanks to the Internet. Many surveys are published in Spain without strict regulations on their quality. For example, there is still no obligation to publish a technical sheet with fundamental data. Population Consensus favors the performative nature of the torrent of surveys. The strategy adopted by CIS director José Félix Tezanos to move away from the polling cloud “consensus” may have exacerbated rather than stopped the phenomenon.

Silence time. The torrent of polls makes the ban on voting during the last week of the campaign ridiculous. From the torrent of demographic data, it turns into rumors and ‘tracking’ published in Australia to circumvent election law. It is worth noting that in recent days prominent professionals in this sector have issued calls for caution. Movements are detected and nobody wants to be wrong. The frames are painted and then chosen wise, so they don’t look bad if the wind changes direction. There are professionals who are distinguished by their cunning.

Absentee ballot. Last week, there was a serious attempt to cast vote-by-mail into question, given the administrative problems posed by the influx of applicants. It was a movement led by the Popular Party, which could have torpedoed the election campaign by questioning the legitimacy of the results. And suddenly this interrogation disappeared. Voting by mail was well managed. 93.8% of applicants cast their ballots on Thursday, the 20th.

legitimacy. The legitimate government ends its mandate. In a few weeks – or months – a new government will be formed, which will be equally legitimate, whatever its composition.

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