MADRID Support for Spain's political leaders has fallen to a new low, according to a poll published by El Pais on Sunday, in the midst of a deep economic recession and record high unemployment.
In a survey by Metroscopia January 9 and 10, only 29.8 percent said they would vote for Spain's ruling People's Party (PP), the lowest level of support since the November 2011 election when it won an absolute majority and over half of the vote.
Spain's economy is expected to continue to contract through 2013 and protests at austerity measures are on the rise, with over one in four workers unemployed.
The economy has shrunk for three of the last four years after the bursting of a property bubble destroyed consumer and business sentiment and left the government applying budget cuts to control one of the euro zone's highest public deficits.
While the poll showed growing disillusionment with Spain's leaders - 84 percent said they had little or no confidence in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy - the main Socialist opposition also saw sliding support.
Just 23.3 percent said they would vote for the Socialists, in power from 2004 to 2011, down from 28.7 percent during the 2011 election.
Meanwhile, support jumped for the smaller left-wing IU party, up to 15.6 percent in January from 7.7 percent a year ago, and the centrist UPyD, rising to 10.2 percent from 4.6 percent in January 2012.
The poll also showed that 74 percent of those surveyed did not believe the government knew how to resolve the economic crisis, while 96 percent said there was a great deal of corruption amongst Spanish politicians.
(Reporting by Paul Day; editing by Andrew Roche)