Spain's Socialists extend lead in CIS poll, trail in others

FILE PHOTO: The Spanish flag is seen outside the Constitutional Court building in Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - If Spain's elections due at the end of the year were held today, the ruling Socialists would win with a five-point lead, according to a poll on Friday that contrasts with recent surveys that put the centre-right People's Party in front.

The poll by the Centre for Sociological Studies (CIS) showed the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez taking 32.7% of the vote, widening its lead by two percentage points from the previous month.

Sanchez rules in coalition with the far-left Unidas Podemos, which the survey put at around 10% of voting intentions, losing ground from a month ago possibly as a result of divisions within the government over gender policies and other issues. The far-right Vox was stable, also at around 10%.

Opposition parties have criticised CIS over what they see as possible bias as the pollster is state-owned and headed by a socialist.

Polls conducted by Sigma Dos for El Mundo and by 40dB for El Pais and Cadena Ser radio station earlier this month both put the conservative People's Party ahead after significant advances since Alberto Nunez Feijoo took the helm last April.

Nevertheless, the polls point to a fragmented parliament where no party would have a sufficient majority to govern alone. They also suggest an alliance would be harder to achieve on the right than on the left.

Spaniards will go to the polls twice this year. In May, municipal and regional elections will be held. These will help gauge support for the main political parties in the general election to be held in December.

The polls show Spain's junior coalition partner may win no seats in several regional parliaments, while the Socialists will have to fight hard to win in key regions such as Comunidad Valenciana, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

(Reporting by Belén Carreño and Emma Pinedo; Editing by Christina Fincher)