BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The popularity of Romania's leftist government has slipped to just below 50 percent, but it should still win a December 9 parliamentary election, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.
The survey, by pollster CSOP, showed 48 percent of Romanians would vote for Prime Minister Victor Ponta's Social Liberal Union (USL) party.
Other recent surveys have put USL's support at above 50 percent.
If the USL fails to win an outright majority, analysts say centre-right President Traian Basescu, who appoints the prime minister, may try to nominate one of his allies to form a coalition, prolonging uncertainty after the vote.
The USL failed to impeach Basescu earlier this year in a bitter political battle that raised concerns over the rule of law in the European Union's second-poorest member state.
The upcoming election has stoked uncertainty over policymaking and about how closely Romania will stick to the terms of its 5-billion-euro International Monetary Fund-backed aid deal.
The Alliance for the Romanian Right (ARD), a new grouping of centre-right parties dominated by the opposition Democrat Liberals - allies of Basescu who are unpopular for past austerity measures - had 24 percent support, the poll showed.
The populist party of media tycoon Dan Diaconescu, who advocates steep tax cuts, came third with 14 percent.
The poll, commissioned by newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, surveyed 1,006 people between November 2-5 and had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Andrew Osborn)