September 25, 2018 / 11:00 AM / in 8 months

Spain's Socialists seen easily winning election in poll

FILE PHOTO: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a speech during an event marking the first 100 days of his government in Madrid, Spain, September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Socialists (PSOE) would win 30.6 percent of the vote if an election was held today, an official poll showed on Tuesday, up from a previous poll held in August which predicted the party headed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez would win 29.9 percent.

The latest poll will buoy Sanchez in parliament, in which he holds just 84 seats in a 350-seat house, as he negotiates next year’s budget and scrambles to find support while insisting he plans to take the government until the next election in 2020.

The conservative People’s Party (PP) and market friendly Ciudadanos have vowed to reject the budget proposal, leaving Sanchez relying on hard-left Podemos and smaller, regional parties including pro-independence parties in Catalonia.

It was the second poll since June’s change of government following a no-confidence vote which toppled the PP and put the PSOE in power. The poll showed the PP a distant second with just 20.8 percent of the vote.

The Socialists have seen two of their cabinet members step down since June, one due to reports of an unpaid tax fine and another due to questions surrounding the validity of the minister’s stated academic credentials.

However, the scandals have done little to dent Sanchez’s support as he floats proposals on loosening budgetary restraints, raising state pensions in line with inflation and increasing taxes on banks and the wealthy.

According to the poll by the Sociological Research Centre (CIS) and held between Sept 1 and Sept 11, the PP was followed by Ciudadanos with 19.6 percent. Both the PP and the Ciudadanos were polled at 20.4 percent in August.

Podemos would win 16.1 percent of the vote, the survey showed.

The survey polled 2,972 people of 18-years-old or over in 292 municipalities and 50 provinces.

Reporting by Rachel Castillo; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Julien Toyer, Richard Balmforth

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