MADRID Recession-hit Spaniards are losing faith in politicians and support is dropping for the ruling People's Party (PP), which has slashed public spending and is embroiled in a corruption scandal, a poll indicated on Wednesday.
Over 40 percent of Spaniards believe the country's political situation is worse than a year ago, and a third think it will not improve in the next year, according to the survey by Spain's state-owned Social Investigations Centre (CIS).
The poll of around 2,500 adults across Spain was carried out between January 4 and 14, before a newspaper sparked public anger by reporting that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other PP leaders had received payments from a slush fund.
CIS estimated that Rajoy's PP would win 35 percent of votes if a parliamentary election were held at once, compared to 43 percent in the CIS poll a year ago, while the opposition Socialists would creep up to 30 percent from 28 percent in January 2012.
The kickback scandal engulfing the PP is unlikely to trigger a general election, as the PP has an absolute majority in parliament. Rajoy denies any wrongdoing and Spain's slow justice system means time is on his side.
Spaniards are also pessimistic on the outlook for the economy, which has been shrinking since the end of 2011. Over half of those surveyed said the economic situation was "very bad" and four out of 10 thought things would be worse in a year's time.
Spain's unemployment rate hit 26 percent in the last quarter of 2012. More than 80 percent of respondents cited it as Spain's biggest problem, followed by the state of the economy and politicians. Corruption ranked as the fourth-biggest concern.
(Reporting by Clare Kane; Editing by Kevin Liffey)