MADRID (Reuters) - Anti-austerity party Podemos would place second and overtake the socialist party, currently leading talks to form a government, if a new general election was held today, a closely-watched official opinion poll showed on Thursday.
The result of the survey is likely to weigh significantly on ongoing negotiations to build a potential coalition of left-wing forces to rule in Spain after an inconclusive December election created a political stalemate in the country.
The People's Party of acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would still come first with 28.8 percent of the vote compared to 28.72 percent on Dec. 20, still way short of a parliamentary majority, according to the survey by the Sociological Research Centre (CIS).
But the Socialists would drop from the second to third place, garnering only 20.5 percent of the votes compared to their previous 22.02 percent, while anti-austerity Podemos would rise to 21.9 percent from 20.65 percent.
Newcomer liberal party Ciudadanos would be fourth with 13.3 percent compared to 13.93 percent in December.
The CIS poll was based on 2,496 interviews conducted between Jan. 2 and Jan. 11, before Rajoy declined to form a government and passed the baton to socialist leader Pedro Sanchez.
(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Paul Day)