Spanish right edges ahead of government: poll
The main Spanish opposition conservative party has taken a narrow lead over the governing Socialists, according to an opinion poll published Sunday.MADRID - The survey, in the Publico newspaper, puts the conservative Popular Party (PP) on 40.7 percent, up five percent since January and the PP's best score since the general election of 2008.
Support for the Socialists dropped by one percent from January to 39.2 percent.
Publico says the boost for the PP can be explained by its victory in elections in the northwest region of Galicia on 1 March in which it won an absolute majority in the local assembly.
At the same time voters blame the government headed by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for its handling of the severe economic crisis that the country has been experiencing for more than a year.
Zapatero's popularity rating is down to 4.4 on a scale of one to 10 (4.5 in January) while that of PP leader Mariano Rajoy is also at 4.4, up from four in January.
Publico says that a recent corruption scandal involving senior figures in the PP does not seem to have had an effect.
Spain has been in a deep crisis since 2008 with soaring unemployment: 15.5 percent of the active population were jobless in February, the highest proportion in the European Union.
Property prices have collapsed as has the building industry and the national car industry has been badly hit.