Spain's opposition could win absolute majority: Poll

AFP , Sunday 7 Aug 2011

Opinion poll shows a 12-point lead for the Spanish Conservative Party over the ruling Socialists, indicating that the opposition will will an absolute majority in November's elections

Spain's conservative opposition Popular Party

Spain's conservative opposition party holds a 12-point lead over the ruling Socialists ahead of November elections, which would translate into an absolute majority in parliament, an opinion poll published Sunday said.

The poll, by the DYM institute for the conservative daily ABC, was the first taken since Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero late last month announced general elections for November 20, four months early.

It said 47.6 percent of voters would back the opposition Popular Party compared to 35 percent for the Socialists if elections were held now.

That would see the PP romp back into power after eight years in opposition with an absolute majority in parliament, ABC said.

The paper noted that the difference was 2.5 points more than that achieved by the PP in regional and municipal elections on May 22, when a huge swathe of the electorate, furious over Spain's economic crisis and soaring unemployment, abandoned the Socialists for the opposition party.

"Political change in Spain is unstoppable," the paper said.

Zapatero, who first came to power in 2004 and was re-elected four years later, announced in April that he would not seek a third term as Socialist leader.

The Socialists chose Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, 60, then interior minister and a party heavyweight, to replace him as party leader, and he will face PP leader Mariano Rajoy, 56, in the November elections.

But the DYM poll noted that most voters considered Rubalcaba "more able" and "more responsible" than Rajoy despite the difference in popularity between their parties.

Another opinion poll released July 31 but taken before the election announcement gave the PP 44.8 percent and the Socialists 30.8 percent.

The Metroscopia survey for the centre-left El Pais daily also indicated that 77 percent of Socialist voters believed a PP victory was inevitable.

The collapse of the property bubble and the global financial meltdown plunged the country into recession in late 2008 from which it emerged with timid growth in early 2010.

The government last year began enacting measures to strengthen bank balance sheets, cut state spending, raise the retirement age, liberalise the labour market and sell off assets in a bid to calm nervous markets.

But Spain's faltering economy slowed in the second quarter of this year as it weathers a deepening sovereign debt crisis.

The country's staggering unemployment rate -- 20.89 percent in the second quarter of 2011 -- has helped to whip up a nationwide "indignant" protest movement against the pain caused by the economic slump.

The DYM poll was conducted August 2-3 among 1,076 people interviewed by telephone, with a margin of error of 3.05 percent.

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