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Spain's Socialists see electoral support rise, PP slip to third place

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Socialists (PSOE) would win 31.6 percent of the vote if an election were held today, an official poll showed on Thursday, while the conservative People’s Party (PP) slipped to third place with just 18.2 percent.

For the Socialist’s, that was up from 30.6 percent in a previous poll in September while the PP, which held power for 6 years until they were ousted in June in a no-confidence vote over multiple corruption cases, saw support drop from 20.8.

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.

Newcomer, market-friendly Ciudadanos rose to second place in the poll by the Centre for Sociological Studies (CIS) behind the socialists with 21 percent of the vote, up from 19.6 percent previously.

Anti-austerity part Podemos saw support rise to 17.3 percent compared to 16.1 percent in September, according to the poll.

Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Jesus Aguado