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Spain top parties' popularity drops as economy sags

MADRID, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Spaniards' opinion of the two main political parties and their leaders has worsened considerably since the national election in November, two separate polls published on Monday showed.

Voting intentions for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's People's Party (PP) fell to 29.9 percent in October from 44.6 percent last November, according to a survey by polling group Metroscopia, published in newspaper El Pais.

The opposition Socialists, who lost the election to the conservatives in a landslide victory for Rajoy, also saw their popularity drop to 23.9 percent of the vote from 28.7 percent last year, the poll showed.

Support for left-wing Izquierda Unida (IU) meanwhile jumped to 12.6 percent in the October survey compared to just 7.7 percent at the start of the year.

Spain's conservatives have passed a series of deep and unpopular spending cuts and tax hikes since taking office to deflate the public deficit, prompting a growing number of street protests.

Unemployment has risen to new record highs since November and the government's own forecasts suggest little improvement over the next two years as the recession drags on.

Some 71 percent of respondents disapproved of Rajoy's management of the country, compared to only 23 percent approval, while 84 percent said the Prime Minister inspired little or no confidence.

Opposition leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba fared even worse, with some 76 percent disapproving of his management and 90 percent saying he inspired little or no confidence.

In a separate survey by the Centre of Sociological Studies (CIS), 26.9 percent of Spaniards polled put the political classes as one of Spain's most pressing problems, with only unemployment and the economy rating higher.

The CIS poll, taken in September, compared to 22.6 percent in November of last year.

(Reporting By Paul Day; Editing by Michael Roddy)

((paul.e.day@thomsonreuters.com)(+34 91 585 83 08)(Reuters Messaging: paul.e.day.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SPAIN ECONOMY/