We keep reading that Aznar was heading for a clear victory in the Spanish elections before the bombings in Madrid and it is now widely being accepted that Al-Qaeda changed the course of the election.
But according to this report from UPI, the pre-election polls in Spain actually told a different story:
Independent polls carried out on Wednesday, the day before the bombings, showed the Socialists ahead with a slight majority.
A poll carried out by Noxa Consulting on Wednesday gave the Socialists less than a 2 percent margin, putting them, nevertheless, in the lead. A similar poll conducted Friday — a day after the attacks, gave the Socialists an even greater lead.
And it is worth remembering that on Friday most people seemed convinced that the bombs were the work of ETA – which was supposed to benefit Aznar electorally.
The UPI report concludes:
The big difference — and the clear reason of the Socialist victory — was the nearly 3 million votes the Socialists added while Aznar’s now not so Popular Party lost about 690,000 votes.
One also must take into consideration the millions of young protestors who took to the streets of Spanish cities in the days before the start of the Iraq war a year ago this week. They were expressing their opposition to Aznar’s policy of allying Spain with the United States in the war effort. Then, many were too young to vote. This year they voted.
So rather than a vote for appeasment of terrorists as some right-wingers are claiming, it appears according to these poll results that the high Socialist vote was established before the bombing and was based on anti-war sentiment.
Now obviously I disagree with the stance taken on Iraq by the Spanish Socialists and I suspect like many others on the pro-war left had strange mixed feelings after Sunday’s vote.
But these figures do seem to seriously undermine the slur that the Spaniards lost their bottle after the bombs and decided to cave into Bin Laden.