September 21, 2015 / 11:05 AM / in 2 years

Spanish main parties hold lead ahead of Podemos: Poll

Podemos (We can) party leader Pablo Iglesias, reacts as he attends the final campagin rally where former Greek prime minister and leader of leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras will speak prior to Sunday's general elections on main Syntagma square, with the parliament building at the rear, in Athens, Greece, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s mainstream left and right political parties held a narrow lead over anti-austerity party Podemos, according to a poll published in El Pais on Monday, just three months before a general election expected in December.

The Socialists (PSOE) topped the Metroscopia poll, with 24.6 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the party if the elections were held tomorrow, closely followed by the ruling People’s Party (PP), with 23.4 percent of the vote.

Podemos, lead by political scientist Pablo Iglesias, has surged in opinion polls since its creation last year as voters seek an alternative to traditional parties after an economic crisis left one in four workers out of job.

Iglesias’ party would win 18.6 percent of the vote, up from 18.1 percent a month earlier, while business-friendly upstart Ciudadanos, which started a national campaign only in January, would take 16.1 percent, the poll showed.

Metroscopia surveyed 1,800 people between 7 and 11 of September for the poll.

The PP took a battering in regional and local elections in May as voters turned to coalitions formed by the newcomers.

While Podemos led voting intentions for much of the start of the year, the Greek crisis, in which fellow anti-austerity party, Syriza, was forced to accept unpopular measures to put its economy back on track, has dented its support base.

A growing Spanish economy and signs of job creation after around eight years of rising unemployment have also helped boost the traditional parties standing in the polls.

Reporting by Paul Day; editing by Ralph Boulton

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