14 Mar, 2024 @ 14:41
1 min read

Leading pollster in Spain who misjudged regional elections in Galicia blames nuns for skewing the vote

SPAIN’S leading pollster who was widely ridiculed after misjudging the recent Galician regional elections has blamed nuns for boosting the right-wing vote. 

Jose Felix Tezanos, the head of Spain’s state polling agency, the Centre for Sociological Studies (CIS), has long been criticised for producing inaccurate, left-leaning predictions in the run-up to elections.

Prior to last month’s elections in Spain’s northwesternmost region, a survey commissioned by the CIS predicted that the conservative Partido Popular (PP) could lose their absolute majority in their traditional stomping-ground, with the left-wing Socialist party (PSOE) and far-left Sumar set to share the honours.

However, the PP retained their commanding electoral position, whilst the left-wing duo of Sumar and the PSOE were left with just 16% of the vote.

Now, Tezanos, who is widely considered to be under the thumb of Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez, has seemingly found an explanation as to why his predictions did not materialise – nuns.

According to Tezanos, 77, the reason for the flawed poll was “extraordinary financial bonuses for female shellfish gatherers, messages sent to health workers promising salary and organisational improvement and nuns organising the vote of their asylum seekers and the elderly”.

Crucial victory for Pedro Sanchez as controversial amnesty law for Catalan separatists gets parliamentary backing in Spain.
Tezanos’ inaccurate polling has proven embarrassing for Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s Socialist prime minister. Credit: Cordon Press

Left-wing officials have long critiqued the influence of the clergy after photos in last year’s general election showed nuns escorting elderly people to voting booths, with suggestions that they were influencing their vote.

Nuns are widely believed to be more likely to support right-wing parties.

Paul Prado, a senior official within the PP, said: “The president of the CIS should have resigned long ago, not only because of his scandalous and barely concealed links to the Socialist party, but also because of the error in his predictions”.

Tezanos’ brazen impartiality has even provoked ire on the Spanish left.

Writing in the Sanchez-friendly El Pais Spanish daily, Kiko Llaneras, the newspaper’s data guru, said: “Since the arrival of Tezanos as its president, the CIS polls have proved to be inaccurate and biased – they almost always anticipate a better result for the left than what is later produced”.

The paper also claimed that Tezanos’ role “tarnishes the image of the necessary impartiality of a think tank whose credibility is crucial for public debate”. 

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Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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