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Poland's ruling party lost support after opposing Tusk at EU

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/04/2017
European Council President Donald Tusk talks to the media in presence of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov after their meeting at the presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, April 3, 2017. Tusk arrived briefly to Skopje to discuss with Ivanov the latest developments regarding the migrant crisis, the political situation in Macedonia and regional issues. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) © The Associated Press European Council President Donald Tusk talks to the media in presence of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov after their meeting at the presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, April 3, 2017. Tusk arrived briefly to Skopje to discuss with Ivanov the latest developments regarding the migrant crisis, the political situation in Macedonia and regional issues. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

WARSAW, Poland — Poland's ruling Law and Justice party lost some voter support after making an unsuccessful attempt to block the re-election of former Prime Minister Donald Tusk to his top European Union job, recent polls show.

Polls also show a strong jump in support for Civic Platform, the party that Tusk led before he became European Council president in 2014.

A poll conducted by the IBRiS institute for news portal Onet showed the populist Law and Justice, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, with 30.5 percent support and Civic Platform only slightly behind with 29.2 percent. That is a drop of 2.3 points for Law and Justice and a jump of 12 points for Civic Platform compared to the previous month.

The phone poll of 1,100 people, conducted March 30, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

At least two other polls by respected research institutes yielded similar results.

For months after taking office in 2015, Law and Justice enjoyed the support of about 35-40 percent of voters in most surveys — a strong approval rating in a multi-party system like Poland's.

Its popularity was helped by a program it introduced that pays cash bonuses to families with at least two children. Many Poles also appreciate the party's patriotic and traditional values.

However, the party's popularity appears to be slipping since it tried to block Tusk's re-election at the EU, a move none of the bloc's 27 other nations supported and which has been considered a failure for the government.

Despite the drop in popularity, Law and Justice retains a firm hold on power. Its majority in parliament gives the party complete control of the Polish government.

The next elections are not scheduled until fall 2019.

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