Defunct Adelaide publication posts Spanish election poll results ahead of vote

Spain is about to go to the polls, with a snap general election called for this Sunday that will determine whether the left-wing incumbent government can maintain power in the face of a conservative challenge.

But it is polls of a different, albeit related, kind that are causing a stir on the other side of the world, after surfacing in a rather unlikely location.

The Adelaide Review, a now-defunct publication, which ceased operations in 2020, appears to have published opinion polling on its site. 

In Spain it is illegal to publish opinion polls in the five days ahead of an election. 

While the opinion poll on the Adelaide Review website cannot be found on the home page, a Spanish news publication has shared a link on its website to the page.

Spanish news website el Periodico published the link on its page stating: 

“Three days before the polls, the Australian web portal ‘The Adelaide Review’ has published this Thursday the third instalment of the daily survey on the general elections on July 23 in Spain,” according to a Google translation of the story.

The Adelaide Review ceased publication three years ago, after 36 years as a highbrow monthly that reported on matters including the local cultural scene, theatre and music performances, food and wine, lifestyle and leisure, travel and tourism, artistic productions and literary works.

The online review had seemingly been dormant since its last edition — but an article bearing the date stamp of Thursday, July 20, and written entirely in Spanish, has since appeared on the Adelaide Review’s still existent website.

A screenshot of a Spanish article linking to an Adelaide Review story.

Spanish publication el Periodico linked to The Adelaide Review article. (ABC News)

“The right-wing bloc has fallen slightly in the last 24 hours, although it maintains its comfortable advantage over a left-wing bloc that shows signs of recovery,” the article on the Adelaide Review’s website states.

Article used to skip Spanish ‘legal hurdle’, journalist says

According to archives from the State Library of South Australia, Javier Moll purchased The Adelaide Review in 2003. 

Mr Moll is executive president of Prensa Iberica, the company that owns Spanish publication el Periodico — which linked to The Adelaide Review story.

The el Periodico article said that the information published in The Adelaide Review allowed Spanish citizens to have “access to the same information” as politicians and media.

A screenshot of an Adelaide Review article in Spanish.

A Spanish journalist speculated the article was used to circumvent Spanish electoral laws. (ABC News)

“The Spanish law bans media from sharing polls results five days before the election is actually happening. The companies running those polls, however, continue to get results during those days,” a Spanish journalist, Ulises Izquierdo, tweeted.

“Political parties have access to these results during these five days, and media do too, they just can’t share them. In previous elections, some publishers skipped this legal hurdle by publishing those polls in media outlets based in Andorra, a small neighbour country of Spain.

“This year, however, this publisher has shifted from Andorra to Australia for some reason.”

A former Adelaide Review reporter tweeted about the incident. 

“Haven’t had contact with @adelaidereview or its parent company for nearly three years, but this is a bizarre footnote to a publication that once meant a lot to me and many others,” author Walter Marsh tweeted.

The ABC has contacted The Adelaide Review and el Periodico for comment.