Rajoy’s Support Slips Amid Spanish Austerity Pain, Poll Shows

Support for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s party has slipped 8 percentage points in as many months, a poll showed today, as the deepest budget cuts on record failed to shield the nation from Europe’s debt crisis.

The ruling People’s Party would win 36.6 percent of the vote if elections were held now, compared with 40.6 percent in an April poll and 44.6 percent in the Nov. 20 election, the state-run Center for Sociological Research said today. The opposition Socialists would win 29.9 percent, compared with 29.6 percent in April and 28.8 percent at the election.

Rajoy was graded 3.33 out of 10, while Socialist leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba was rated 3.8 in the survey. Rosa Diez, the leader of Union, Progress and Democracy, a five-year-old party with five of the 350 seats in Parliament, was rated highest with 4.36. Her party would win 6.6 percent of the vote.

Rajoy, who has an outright majority in Parliament, has broken election pledges on taxes, benefits and health care in his efforts to prevent Spain needing a full international bailout. Even as he implements more than 100 billion euros ($124 billion) of budget cuts and laws designed to lower the 25 percent jobless rate, the continued surge in borrowing costs forced him last week to say he may consider external help.

The government, in power since December, agreed to a European rescue for its banks in June of as much as 100 billion euros as its access to financing narrowed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond rose to a record of 7.75 percent on July 25, and traded at 6.789 percent today.

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