Editorial | Paradoxical barometer of Barcelon

Claim that the municipal barometer of Barcelona that was made public yesterday it is paradoxical it almost sounds like an understatement, given the often contradictory conclusions that can be drawn from its data. On the one hand, Barcelona en Comú, the mayor’s party, Ada Colau, would win the elections with a distance not seen in Barcelona since 2006: four points in voting intention above ERC. But, on the other hand, Colau fails in the assessment of citizenship with a 4.2 (the worst since he entered the consistory) and falls to fifth place among the political leaders of the city, surpassed by Ernest Maragall, Jaume Collboni, Eva Parera and Elsa Artadi.

But the data that attracts the most attention is that of the assessment of the municipal government. 49.4% of those interviewed consider the city’s management to be bad or very bad, the worst grade of a municipal government since 2004, year in which municipal barometers began to be carried out. To help contextualize the data, it is worth the comparison with the worst evaluations of Colau’s predecessors: Joan Clos had 41.1%, Jordi Hereu 45.4% and Xavier Trias 32.1%. Thus, then, Colau’s party would win the elections with an unprecedented advantage in decades at the same time that the valuation of the mayor and the municipal government reaches a minimum also never seen before.

The barometer is a reflection of the polarized atmosphere in which the city is located in the final stretch of Colau’s second term. Not even the most staunch detractors of the mayor deny that Barcelona en Comú has a project for the city, and that is what is rewarded in the barometer. Now, this plan is far from being a city project, as shown by the poor grades of the mayor, the management of the municipal government and also the percentage of undecided in the sample, 34%, a figure that is also a record of this mandate.

Therefore, Barcelona en Comú cannot be denied the mobilization capacity of its electorate, hence his good outlook on voting intention. Now, the existence of citizen unrest. In this sense, the barometer indicates the difficulty on the part of the opposition to build a solid alternative. Neither Colau nor his management convince, but neither his government partners nor the opposition led by ERC manage to capitalize on this discomfort of an important part of the citizenry with the management of the mayor and her team. In this sense, the barometer leaves elements for reflection both for the government team and for the rest of the parties that make up the council. Too often, sheer partisan strife overshadows the needs of the city and its citizens.

In this sense, the barometer shows citizen concerns that this municipal team finds it difficult to assume as real and not as an invention of the opposition: the insecurity and the lack of cleanliness of the city. This last aspect reaches 11.8%, the highest value since Colau heads the municipal government. It is in these tangible facts, and not in the more purely electoral data, where the perception by citizens of municipal management is appreciated. Governing for all has costs and revenues in the polls, in the same way that governing for one’s own and mobilizing the electorate also usually give certain reflections in the polls. But to win elections, the only poll that counts, what usually works best is to have a city project and not just a party project.


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