Podemos paid a US firm € 47,600 to help it differentiate itself from Bildu in the Basque Country

We can hired last year for 47.636 euros to a prestigious North American consulting firm, Strategies 360 Inc, a “strategic analysis” to design the lines of its electoral campaign in the Basque elections and solve its problems of political identity in this autonomous community.

Sources from the former leadership of Podemos Euskadi have explained to EL ESPAÑOL that the study was commissioned to this firm because it is “ideologically related” and has worked with other left-wing parties in Europe.

Strategies 360 Inc (S360) was founded in 1985, is headquartered in Seattle and operates in several states on the west coast of the USA. She regularly collaborates with the Joe Biden Democratic Party and specializes in political marketing, institutional communication and reputation crisis resolution.

With this study, Podemos tried to resolve the uneven result obtained in the Basque Country between the regional elections (in which it suffers an important flight of votes towards Bildu and, to a lesser extent, the PNV) and the general ones.

The general coordinator of EH Bildu, Arnaldo Otegi, in a file image.

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The sources of the purple party indicate that the figure of 47,636 euros paid in February 2020 (as recorded in its transparency portal) also included a survey. The fieldwork for this survey was carried out by the Spanish company Ipsos, following the established guidelines and the questionnaire designed by Strategies 360. The market price of an electoral poll in Spain, with a thousand respondents, is around 7,000 euros.

The “strategic analysis” prepared by the Seattle firm, based on the results of this survey, found that Podemos and Bildu share a large number of voters in the Basque Country, especially among the young electorate. In the general elections, a part of these voters favor Podemos, but then return to Bildu in the regional elections.

The report that cost almost 50,000 euros recommended to Podemos that, before the regional elections of July 2020, it avoid identity issues and the positions of nationalism -which play in favor of Bildu and the PNV- to focus on social policies with which the purple party voter can be identified.

It was not easy to break the association between Podemos and Bildu before the electorate, since Pablo Iglesias had been the main supporter for the party of the left nationalist first join the motion of no confidence against Rajoy and then support the government coalition headed by Pedro Sánchez.

Electoral disaster

Despite resorting to one of the leading consultants of the North American Democratic Party, with a minute close to 50,000 euros, the worst forecasts were fulfilled in the Basque elections held on July 12, 2020 (a few weeks after the first state of alarm by the Covid).

The candidate of Podemos to president, Miren Gorrotxategi, who had been imposed from Madrid by Pablo Iglesias’ team, suffered a real disaster, since lost more than 54% of the votes recorded four years earlier by Maite Zabala. The coalition received 71,000 votes (compared to 157,000 obtained in previous regional elections), for which it fell from 11 to six seats.

Previously, there had been a schism between the leadership of Podemos Euskadi, which had supported Rosa Martinez as a candidate in the primaries, and the national leadership backed by Iglesias. The victory of the official candidate backed from Madrid made Lander Martínez’s team leave the leadership of Podemos Euskadi in February 2020.

Sources from the previous team indicate to EL ESPAÑOL that the strategic report for the Basque elections was prepared by the staff of Strategies 360 Inc in Denver (Colorado). More recently, the consultancy firm Me Smith, who led the electoral campaigns for the election of Senators Bob Casey for Pennsylvania in 2018, Michael Bennet for Colorado in 2016 and John Hickenlooper, also for Colorado, last January, all of them as members of the Democratic Party.

Ron Dotzauer and Karen Waters lead the management team of the consulting firm Strategies 360 Inc.

Ron Dotzauer and Karen Waters lead the management team of the consulting firm Strategies 360 Inc.

On its website, Strategies 360 indicates that last year it collaborated in 110 electoral campaigns. His work helped Arizona voters pass the legalization of recreational cannabis use and the elimination of arrests for cannabis use.

The current president of the consulting firm S360 is Karen Waters, who worked for the White House during the Bill Clinton Administration. The CEO and founder of the company is Ron Dotzauer, aviator, Vietnam War veteran, and “North Seattle horse ranch owner.” He has served on four presidential conventions, both for the Democratic and Republican Parties.

The payment of more than 47,000 euros to this consultancy is one of the largest made by Podemos in 2020 in external services, according to its transparency portal. Pablo Iglesias’ team had chosen Miren Gorrotxategi as a candidate for president after commissioning in March 2020 a survey from the consulting firm Agora Voting SL, for 19.360 euros, on the possible candidates for the primaries of the Basque Country.

Also clicks in Catalonia

That same month of March 2020, two months after the arrival of Iglesias to the Government, Podemos commissioned the firm 40DB Data SL a tracking of electoral intention by 13.552 euros. The parliamentary group En Comú Podemos resorted to the same company in January 2020 to carry out, for 4,436 euros, a survey on the “political climate in Catalonia”.

The Catalan elections were not held until February 14, 2021. The Catalan Podemos franchise, In Comú Podem, it sank to sixth position: lost 131,000 votes and was left with eight seats, behind the PSC (33), ERC (33), Junts (32), Vox (11) and the CUP (9).

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