Sánchez modulates his profile in search of “centrality” against Díaz and Casado
Pedro Sánchez wants to focus the second half of the legislature. Without fundamentally renouncing any of his main lines, the President of the Government has been reinforcing in recent weeks the idea of a Government dedicated to management and the “real problems” of the population. And in which there is much more talk of “agreements that transcend ideological blocks”. In those terms, Sánchez referred to the labor reform agreement agreed with unions and employers.
The absolutely core part for La Moncloa in the remainder of its mandate is to try to make the idea of a real improvement in the economy transcend public opinion. And that the President of the Government can communicate it in the first person.
Although coldness is a recurring criticism of Sánchez even within the PSOE, in Moncloa they speak of “regain authenticity” and “return to being” because Sánchez “is close.” In the last few days, Moncloa has already set up acts of a new format in which the president has met with pensioners or young people to talk about access to housing. In the Government it is defended that it is a “very marked left-wing” agenda. They mention the Minimum Wage, the Minimum Vital Income, pensions or the Vocational Training Law. But they do recognize that from there seek “centrality” transferring an image of pacts and dialogue. Hence the messages these days ago to “widen majorities.”
The Government tries to open the focus to reach electorates beyond the traditional one that the PSOE has been achieving since 2015. And it does so because they believe that the left space is consolidated between the two coalition parties. And that, in any case, Sánchez already has good evaluations from left-wing voters. Recent agreements with
the business association or with the Episcopal Conference they are minimum pacts for the most left-wing voter, but Pedro Sánchez wants to project them as an example of a government that dialogues. Although the lack of it is what the opposition most accuses him of. Even your own partners. Along this path, the relationship with the European Commission also plays an important role for Moncloa, in terms of European funds.
The data handled by La Moncloa suggest that “stability” is now a value. “The political brawl is penalized,” government sources insist. That is where Pedro Sánchez’s idea of exhausting the legislature is based. And that this will be an asset in less ideological electorates. In the socialist ranks, special attention is paid to the qualitative data of the electorate that goes from the center to the left. And that is where doubts arise. In two directions. First about the level of mobilization of the socialist electorate and secondly on the ability to penetrate in electorates linked since 2015 to Ciudadanos.
The PSOE has been sinking persistently in the attempt to fish in these fishing grounds. It was seen in the electoral repetition of November 2019. It was corroborated in the regional elections in the Community of Madrid last May. It is not even possible to speak of a recovery of the vote in the case of Catalonia. Although it has become commonplace that some socialist leaders have even privately incorporated their speech, ABC dissected last Monday the result of the PSOE in the four regional elections that have been held since the socialists govern with United We Can and with support of separatist forces.
And the conclusion is not positive for socialists. Not even in Catalonia. In those elections, the PSC won some 50,000 votes when Ciudadanos lost around 1 million votes. In addition, the common ones left more than 100,000 votes. Has the orange voter returned to the Catalan socialists? Absolutely not. And that, there yes, the traditional composition of the voter of Albert Rivera first and Inés Arrimadas later does have an important socialist origin.
This diagnosis is made in Moncloa and Ferraz by people with more experience and who are reluctant to be carried away by triumphalist visions. A feeling of some misunderstanding. There is a closed and generalized defense to the action of the Government. Especially the economic measures in response to the pandemic. But at the same time it is not hidden that the data does not show growth. Not a collapse either, they console themselves in the PSOE, where a stagnation is recognized. The prospects are not promising in the short term. Neither in Castilla y León nor in Andalusia.
Why then do the socialists persist in that strategy? All those images with Ursula Von der Leyen, Juan José Omella or Antonio Garamendi they seek to present the president as a figure less associated exclusively with the left. His figure is very conditioned to the coalition with United We Can and the alliances with ERC and Bildu. The socialists understand that it is the flank where they can grow if they do not want to settle for stagnation in their usual results.
It is unanimous in the PSOE that Pablo Casado is a bad candidate for the PP and that as long as the relationship of forces with Vox is the current one, there will be many voters who doubt whether to vote for the PP. While the example of a PSOE-UP coalition government in which the peso has been socialist would act in the opposite direction. It is also privately recognized that it is a way of blocking Yolanda Díaz’s attempts to represent a transversal candidacy that captures voters with a more centrist profile.
On November 10, 2019, Ciudadanos received 1.6 million votes. Since then, post-election surveys have been carried out that indicate that 1 million of its voters stayed at home, such as the one published by GAD3. Meanwhile, 1.4 million votes went to PP and Vox. Less than 200,000 joined the PSOE. But the socialists work on the million abstentionists and the million and a half who still voted for Cs. They believe that if they did not go to the right at the time, they may not do so now with Vox so strong in the equation. More than 2.5 million votes that the PSOE cannot assume automatically and massively go to the PP. Because to do so would be to assume that La Moncloa is lost in the next election.