Who benefits from a low turnout in Barcelona in municipal elections? The complexity of Barcelona's electoral map does not allow us to give an answer to this question and unravel a factor that takes on particular relevance in the appointment with the ballot boxes next Sunday, in which most published polls point to a high abstention. However, a study prepared by Public Affairs Experts, based on the historical distribution of abstention in the three previous municipal elections, shows that abstention in the city's higher-income neighborhoods, which are usually the ones that register a contest greater in the electoral colleges, does not necessarily imply a higher participation in areas where BComú and the PSC have a more important mobilization of the vote, and vice versa.
The analysis points to a series of conclusions regarding the four political options with the best chance of winning the elections. Mayor Ada Colau's party is doing better in neighborhoods with a greater tendency to abstain. That is why it could benefit BComú that there is no high turnout in the city's northwest neighborhoods, where it usually gets the worst results. In the first elections of Ada Colau (2015), the communes prevailed in the neighborhoods of the east zone, which traditionally tend to have a lower turnout.
The PSC tends to do better in neighborhoods with a greater tendency to abstain, so, as with BComú, it would benefit from an increase in participation in the eastern part of the city, where it has the bulk of support . The difference between the PSC and the commons, points out the Public Affairs Experts report, is to be found in the candidate: the socialist Jaume Collboni could aspire to seduce the electorate of the district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, where participation is more large, which does not happen in the case of Ada Colau. In this context, a drop in participation in the district with the highest income would not benefit Collboni as much as Colau.
Together, it tends to achieve its best results in areas that register a turnout above the city average. In the event of an increase in participation, the probability that mobilized voters will opt for the candidacy of Xavier Trias is greater. Both Junts and BComú and the PSC are interested in a mobilization of the districts in which their support is concentrated. That is, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, the Corts and the Eixample, in the case of Junts; and Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí in the case of communes and socialists.
The fourth in dispute, Esquerra Republicana, has a very transversal electorate, little affected by the neighborhood in which it resides and by abstention. If there is more participation, there is also usually an improvement in the results for the candidacy, which this time is once again led by Ernest Maragall, but this does not definitively translate into a large harvest of votes.
The report also analyzes the effects of abstention on the smallest formations, for which being above or below 5% of the votes that give access to the City Council means success or failure. An increase in participation would make it difficult for candidates such as Vox, la Cup, Ciutadans or Valents to enter the Consistory.
On the other hand, the parties most associated with the system tend to have an older electorate. This is the case of Junts and the PSC. Conversely, newer parties, such as BComú, tend to capture a younger vote. In general, older people tend to participate more than young people in elections.