Tuesday, March 16, 2004
The Reign in Spain
I was not planning to say much regarding the recent general election in Spain. However, Harry posted something interesting on his blog and it has got me thinking.
Firstly, I am inclined to agree with the view that the results of Spanish general election had less to do with a victory of "Al Queda" and more to do with the incompetence of the previous government of Spain. Two events conspired to send Spain's Conservative government packing. Their desperate attempts to pin the blame on Eta, a charge George W. Bush tried to substantiate; and an increase in voter turnout, which favoured the Socialists.
There one other psephelogical point to make. It is that it is entirely possible the Spanish election results had much less to do with the politics of the Madrid bombing than many are saying. Early campaign opinion polls indicated that the Popular party might win c168-72 seats, while the socialists would win c140-45. In the end, the Socialists got 164, the PP 148.
Crucially, turnout leapt from 69% to 77%. The reason for this could simply be a sense of civic responsibility in the wake of disaster. That alone could account for much of the socialist victory, as voters who don't usually vote trend to the left (they are usually younger and poorer) . That is, if they do vote, they're more likely to vote socialist. The bombings may simply have brought thousands more socialist voters to the polls.
As you may have noticed, the right wing are squealing about this turn of events. It is a victory for Al-Queda. The Spanish are cowards. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, This is all pretty standard, reprehensible stuff from the usual suspects. Matthew Yglesias puts it in a slightly different context.
But of course logic has nothing to do with this. The right would like to set up the following argument: If there are no attacks between now and the election, then Bush has defended us from terror and deserves re-election; if there is an attack between now and the election, then voting for Kerry would be appeasement.
posted by RogueTrooper |