Spanish right-wing opposition leads Socialists: poll
Spain's right-wing opposition would take the lead over the ruling Socialists, struggling to deal with an economic crisis, if legislative elections were held now, a poll published Sunday showed.
If elections were called, the main opposition Popular Party (PP) would take 45.6 percent of the vote compared with 35.1 percent for the Socialist Party, according to the Sigma Dos Institute poll conducted for the centre-right newspaper El Mundo.
The conservatives' 10.5 percentage point lead over the left-wing party of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero reflects growing pressure on his government, which managed to pass its unpopular austerity plan in parliament on Thursday by just one vote.
The poll of a sampling of 800 people from May 25 to 27 also showed that just over half (50.6 percent) were in favour of holding elections ahead of the normally scheduled 2012 polls.
A survey published on May 16 in the centre-left newspaper El Pais put the opposition PP ahead of the Socialists by nine percentage points.
Zapatero's government squeezed through a 15-billion-euro (18.5-billion-dollar) austerity plan that aims to shore up Spain's public finances amid investor concerns it could follow Greece into a debt crisis.
The plan has been denounced by Spain's trade unions, and civil servants targeted for pay cuts will stage a protest strike on June 8.
Since the Socialists do not have an absolute majority in parliament, Zapatero runs the risk of having his 2011 budget rejected later in the year and analysts say he may have no choice but to call new elections.
© 2010 AFP