The Popular Party has taken a liking to merengue, bachata and reggaeton.
They are the rhythms of the new Madrileños, the Latino immigrants, a growing group of voters that the Madrid PP group has been courting for some time.
They were the rhythms that sounded in a great celebration of the party this Saturday, two months and three days before the regional and municipal elections of 28-M.
It was an unusual rally in Spanish politics, where it is rare for parties to segment and label the electorate by their nationality, a more frequent strategy in other European countries or in the United States.
The event, called
Europe is Hispania,
brought together nearly 1,000 people in an auditorium in a peripheral district, San Blas, who attended the speeches of the national leader, Alberto Núñez Feijoo;
the regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida.
The act is reminiscent of the great rallies in the United States dedicated to the Latino vote.
From the days of
Todos con Biden
, American candidates of both political stripes have campaigned for that fringe of the electorate.
Even Donald Trump has participated in such acts.
The American electoral machinery measures the electorate very finely, but in Spain things are different.
Perhaps because the arrival of immigration is more recent or perhaps because resources are more limited, it is not common to divide the electorate by their country of origin.
For this reason, the new strategy of the PP is striking, which before the rally this Saturday, has cultivated leaders of the Latino community, including pastors of evangelical churches, and has organized meetings by countries of origin such as Argentinos with Ayuso or Dominicans with Ayuso.
The @ppmadrid family grows every day.
Today we are proud to welcome more than 40 "new Dominicans from Madrid" who have decided to join the Libertad project led by @IdiazAyuso @ppmadrid is the house of freedom #WIN pic.twitter.com/8scACeAn5H
— Alfonso Serrano (@SerranoAlfonso) September 16, 2022
There is a surprising information gap in Spain regarding the electoral behavior of the Latino community: polling houses do not publish specific polls on this group or immigrants in general.
Not even the state Center for Sociological Research (CIS) includes the question of the country of birth of the respondents in its electoral macro-polls.
This contrasts with the increasingly significant presence of voters born outside of Spain.
In the Community of Madrid, immigrants have gone from 5% of the population in the year 2000 (only 260,507 of a total of 5.2 million people) to 21% in January 2022 (1.4 million of a total of 6.7 million people).
Of course, not everyone can vote.
In regional or general elections, only those who have Spanish nationality and are over 18 years of age are legitimized.
According to an analysis by EL PAÍS of data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), on January 1, 2022, potential immigrant voters from any foreign country were 525,312 in the Madrid region, which represented 10.9% of the almost 4.8 million people who make up the electoral census.
Of these, 397,486 were of Hispanic American origin, that is, 8.3%.
Hispanics are already a sizeable piece of the electoral pie and are growing faster than immigrants from other countries.
For this reason, the interest that the Ayuso PP has shown in them is not surprising.
However, the weight of this group in the whole of the electorate of all of Spain is much lower: immigrants of any origin who are naturalized and of legal age account for 6.5%, that is, 2.2 million potential voters.
Of these, 4.3%, 1.5 million, had been born in Latin America.
The immigrant vote is even more relevant in municipal elections, where residents who have not yet been nationalized as Spanish citizens can also participate as long as they come from two groups: on the one hand, the other 26 countries of the European Union (1.5 million in all of Spain) , and on the other, the 13 countries with which Spain has signed a reciprocity agreement: Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Korea, Ecuador, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago (455,024 ).
Adding both groups, Madrid is the province with the highest number of potential voters without a Spanish passport (just over 307,000), followed by Barcelona (209,000) and Alicante (179,000).
These foreigners will be able to vote as long as they have requested their registration in the electoral roll before January 15.
Left or right?
Despite the lack of polls, there are clues as to whether Hispanic Americans are on the right or on the left.
An indirect way to find out the electoral tendency of these voters is to analyze who they vote for in the elections of their countries of origin, a technique used by some pollsters in Spain to supplement their demographic analysis.
Thus, in a selection of recent elections, the leftist option was preferred by immigrants from Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador or Paraguay.
Instead, the right won among those from Argentina, Peru and Venezuela.
The problem is that participation in these elections is not usually very large, the circumstances of their countries of origin are very different from those of Spain and it is possible that the profile of immigrants who vote for politicians from their countries of origin is different from that of those who vote for Spanish representatives.
Another way is the one used by two academics, Laura Morales and Carles Pamies, from the Parisian Sciences Po, who have carried out analyzes based on voters with dual nationality, a question that the CIS did include systematically between 2008 and 2018. In this way, published a study in 2021 with a total sample of 1,737 voters with dual Spanish nationality and from an Ibero-American country.
According to the data, published in eldiario.es, Latin Americans vote more to the left, especially the PSOE.
Ecuadorians, Dominicans and Argentines/Paraguayans/Uruguayans show very high margins of preference for the left.
In this last group, there is a significant weight of Unidas Podemos.
In the Community of Madrid, they observed a similar pattern with a smaller sample.
What these results show is that there is no homogeneous Hispanic voting bloc, as is the case in the US. As analysts have verified there, there are subgroups with differences influenced by the political baggage they bring from their countries.
Clearly, the experience of a Colombian who has fled the war due to the policies of right-wing governments is not the same as the experience of a Venezuelan affected by the economic collapse and persecution in a country governed by a government labeled left.
On the other hand, the general tendency to vote for the left coincides with that same inclination in the United States. In that country, many analysts have attributed this pattern to the hostility of the Republican rhetoric and to the greater efforts of mobilization on the part of the Democrats.
Morales and Pamies conclude that these two factors do not occur in Spain and, therefore, they suggest that the driver of their electoral behavior is their most disadvantaged socioeconomic status, which makes them more sensitive to progressive messages such as the need to improve public services. or redistribution of income.
In fact, immigrants in the highest quartiles of the purchasing power distribution tend to vote to the right.
Studies carried out in other European countries underline this tendency.
The "smell" of the PP
Due to this partisan option, which Morales and other analysts have tested in studies since 2011, this author explains to this newspaper that the Spanish left-wing parties have been a bit slow when it comes to mobilizing Hispanic immigrants.
Morales, who knows first-hand the situation in France or the United Kingdom, issues a warning as an impartial observer: “The immigrant population will not automatically vote for progressive parties forever.
There comes a time when, if their proposals are not addressed to them, they will turn their backs on them.
In the same way that progressive parties try to make arguments for women, they should make efforts to explain to immigrants why their proposals will improve their lives.
"That the PP has taken this initiative shows political nose,
The PSOE does not like this type of campaign.
"We do not make distinctions by nationality," explains a spokeswoman for the Madrid federation.
“Our proposals are for all Madrid residents, those who were born here, those who have come to live, and those who will come.
We hope that wherever they come from, they vote for our measures, not for doing a festive act one day”.
The party has carried out an information campaign, at the end of last year, to resolve doubts from foreigners about how to request the right to vote.
For its part, Podemos Madrid held a meeting with migrants and other groups that suffer discrimination in the multicultural Usera district in September and plans to hold another festive one soon, says a spokeswoman.
Y Más Madrid does silent work with immigrants, especially from the Latino community, according to Nicolás Cabrera, a member of the intercultural space of this party.
To stage this effort, they are going to organize an act focused on them at the beginning of April.
"Our work is very different from that of the PP," says Cabrera.
“We propose specific public policies for them, such as a new body in the Madrid City Council to promote their native culture, Madrid Celebrates.
The PP only has an exhibition and pivots on a few thousand supports, those of the evangelical ultras and the rich of Golden Visa ”, he affirms.
His criticism is difficult to verify due to the forgetfulness of the polls, an omission that contrasts with the growing power of a group of voters that may be decisive in many municipalities in the May 28 elections.
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