MADRID Spain would finally get a stable government led by the centre-right People's Party (PP) if it held its third national election in a year, a poll suggested in Sunday.
Two inconclusive votes have left Spain in political limbo since December - and parties are still trying to cobble together a workable coalition after the last election in June.
But a Metroscopia survey in El Pais newspaper suggested that PP, led by caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, would get 37.8 percent in a new vote - more than the 33 percent it got last time and potentially enough to let it lead a coalition.
The closely-watched monthly poll did not spell out how many parliamentary seats PP would be able to take with that proportion of votes.
But the rise in its support suggested it would have a better chance of forming a government with liberal newcomer Ciudadanos. The two parties together are currently just seven seats below the 176 mark needed for an absolute majority.
Other alliances are also possible.
The Socialist party, which has until now rejected voting in favour of the PP or even abstaining in a confidence vote to allow a minority administration of the conservative party, is planning a meeting of its senior members to review its position.
The meeting is likely to take place on October 23, before an October 31 deadline to form a government or trigger the new election.
Some Socialist members argue that allowing a PP government would place them in the same situation as Greece's long-established centre-left party PASOK which joined a conservative-led government in 2012 only to be wiped out by the rise to power of the far-left Syriza party.
But others say that facing another election could be just as disastrous when the party is in such disarray.
The Metroscopia poll showed 56 percent of Socialist voters would prefer the party to allow a PP government while 37 percent would chose to stick to their opposition to Rajoy.
The poll suggested that the leftist alliance of Unidos Podemos would come in second with 22.1 percent in a new vote, up from 21.1 percent in June.
The Socialists would fall to third place, with 18 percent compared to 22.7 percent the last time.
And Ciudadanos would stay in fourth place with 11.6 percent, down from 13.1 percent.
(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)