MADRID Support for Spain's governing People's Party (PP) has fallen to the lowest level in 20 years, as the government struggles with a corruption scandal and economic recession, according to El Mundo newspaper on Sunday.
The centre-right PP would take 33.5 percent of the vote in a parliamentary election, a Sigma Dos poll showed, 11 points less than the 44.6 percent in a November 2011 parliamentary election which handed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy an absolute majority.
It was the worst result for the PP since February 1993 in the Sigma Dos polls published regularly in El Mundo, the newspaper said. The party still has a lead over the opposition Socialists, who were on 28.2 percent, the poll showed.
The PP attracted 36.7 percent in the last Sigma Dos poll, published on December 30, when the Socialists were on 30.7 percent.
The government has been forced to issue denials since El Pais newspaper published on January 31 what it said were ledgers hand-written by a former PP treasurer detailing cash payments to senior party leaders including Rajoy.
Rajoy, who says no such payments were made, published his earnings and tax records from the past ten years on Saturday in a bid to quell the scandal, although opposition politicians said many questions remained.
Spain's gross domestic product contracted by 1.4 percent in 2012 and unemployment has risen to 26 percent, the highest level since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.
The latest Sigma Dos poll was carried out on February 7 and February 8.
A Metroscopia poll published in the left-leaning El Pais on February 3 showed 23.9 percent of the public supporting the PP, the lowest level on record.
Both the Sigma Dos and the Metroscopia surveys were based on interviews with 1,000 people.
(Reporting by Teresa Larraz, Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Jason Webb)
(This story was fixed to show number of people surveyed by Sigma Dos, in final paragraph)