Spanish Socialists would increase gains in new snap election, poll predicts
Research institute forecasts Pedro Sánchez's party would benefit from return to ballot box, with Catalan pro-independence parties losing ground
The Socialist Party (PSOE) of acting Spanish president Pedro Sánchez would be the clear winner in a new general election, forecasts a new poll from a public research institute.
Spain's Center for Sociological Research (CIS) says Sánchez's party would win 39.5% of the vote, well ahead of the conservative Ciudadanos (15.8%) and the People's Party (13.7%).
Such a result would see PSOE significantly increase its share of the vote it gained in the April 28 general election, which it won with 28.7% of the ballots cast.
Meanwhile, the poll also predicts that the main ally of the Socialists, the leftwing Podemos party, would see its share reduced from 14.3% in April to 12.7%.
Pressure on Podemos
In recent days, PSOE has put pressure on Podemos to back Sánchez's bid to retain the presidency when it goes to the vote in the Spanish parliament on July 22 and 23.
With 123 seats gained in April, the Socialists are well short of the 176 needed for a majority in congress, but the new poll suggests PSOE would only gain from a new snap election.
This has led Sánchez's party to resist Podemos' demands to be part of a coalition government, with PSOE offering only minor administrative positions for its support.
April was disastrous for the People's Party, as it lost 69 seats, with the new poll predicting more losses for the conservatives who Sánchez ousted from government last year.
While the poll predicts that Ciudadanos would drop its share by only 0.1%, the far right Vox party, which won seats in congress for the first time, would see its share halved to 5.1%.
Socialists would win in Catalonia
As for the Catalan parties in the Spanish parliament, the Socialists (PSC) would again be the clear winners, increasing their share of the vote from 23.2% to 27.2%.
That would reduce the historic high of 24.5% achieved in April by the pro-independence Esquerra party (ERC) of jailed leader Oriol Junqueras to 18.5%.
Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), the other pro-independence party, under jailed former activist Jordi Sànchez, would also lose out in a new election, with its share halved to 6.1%.
In their efforts to find support, the Socialists have ruled out accepting the votes of pro-independence parties to avoid their demands for an agreed referendum in Catalonia.
If the new poll is right, should Sánchez's bid fail at the end of July, the general election that might follow would only make his attempts to hold on to the presidency more likely.