Spain's acting Prime Minister Rajoy arrives at the Popular Party's provincial congress in Pontevedra
MADRID (Reuters) - Spaniards would vote the same way as they did in a Dec. 20 election in the event of a new poll, resulting in no clear mandate to govern and continued political deadlock, a survey published in El Pais newspaper showed on Sunday,
Spain's parties have failed to form a government after more than two months of fruitless negotiations and two unsuccessful parliamentary votes to back a Socialist-led coalition government.
People must return to the polls if the impasse is not resolved before a May 2 deadline. But a similar inconclusive result could mean months of lost leadership at a time when the country is trying to cut debt and sustain an economic recovery.
The center-right party of the former government, the People's Party (PP), would continue to win most votes with 26 percent although this would fall far short of the absolute majority to form a government, the survey conducted by pollsters Metroscopia showed.
The Socialists, who failed to gain enough parliamentary support to form a coalition government earlier this month, would come second with 23 percent.
The two newcomer parties, market-friendly Ciudadanos (C's) and leftist Podemos, would come third and fourth respectively, with C's showing a marked improvement on its Dec. 20 after it made a pact with the Socialists to form a center-left coalition.
The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points. The pollsters interviewed 1,200 people on March 8 and 9
(Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Angus MacSwan)