Pedro Sánchez, head of the PSOE, has narrowly beaten Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the state of the nation debate, according to a poll released by Spanish daily newspaper, El Mundo.
Those polled put Sánchez 4.7 points ahead of the Prime Minister, who delivered his annual state of the nation address on Tuesday, February 24th.
34.7 percent of people polled thought the PSOE head came out best in the debate, compared to 30 percent who preferred the Prime Minister.
Overall, Sánchez was more “convincing” and "outshined" Rajoy, and proved to be a better communicator, according to the poll.
The survey was carried out by Sigma Dos for conservative leaning newspaper, El Mundo, and shows that many people thought Rajoy was wrong to paint such an optimistic image of Spain in his speech.
The Prime Minister was keen to present what is the best economic data since he came to power three years ago and said Spain had “achieved the impossible”.
In a triumphant speech he emphasized that through the austerity measures imposed by his government Spain had managed to avoid a bail out and revive the economy.
But many Spaniards who have suffered through austerity and high unemployment, and have yet to see their fortunes turn, felt Sanchez had done well in countering Rajoy's arguments.
Sánchez, in his first state of the nation debate since becoming leader of the PSOE, attempted to point out inconsistencies in Rajoy´s discourse, reminding parliament that Spain had in fact received a bail-out of its banks to a tune of €100 billion.
Sánchez scalded the prime minister for making light of “the more than million unemployed in our country.”
The debate saw the two leaders trading insults, when Sánchez branded the prime minister a “liar” and linked him to corruption, while Rajoy retaliated with the reposte: “Pathetic”.
Women especially felt that Sanchez had performed more favourably than Rajoy, with 37.3 percent of female respondents plumping for the Socialist over 28 percent for the Prime Minister.
Male voters however were more split down the middle with 32 percent voting for Sánchez and 31 percent for Rajoy.