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Sang Tan/AP
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Poll: Gordon Brown’s Popularity at Record Low

August 01, 2008 05:28 PM
by Liz Colville
A new survey published by The Daily Telegraph suggests that a record number of British citizens are in doubt about their leader.

30-Second Summary

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The telephone survey showed that “barely one voter in seven” polled thought Brown fit for the role of Prime Minister. But the poll also suggested that Foreign Secretary David Miliband, considered by some to be a viable replacement, would not likely be able to beat the Conservative leader David Cameron in a general election.

Several members of the Labour Party have openly declared the party to be in trouble. Miliband wrote an optimistic “manifesto” in a newspaper on July 29 that another Labour MP called “disloyal” and some journalists see as prescient regarding Miliband’s likely succession; it contained no mention of Brown.

Others are “ready to back” Miliband, but the YouGov poll shows that Tony Blair would actually have the best shot out of six possible candidates including Miliband.

Brown’s weakness is not that he is “out of touch” with voters—only 9 percent of participants said he is—but that he “lacks the qualities needed” to be Prime Minister, a response given by 52 percent of those polled.

According to British paper The Daily Telegraph, only John Major, the Conservative prime minister who succeeded Margaret Thatcher in 1990 and suffered a landslide defeat to Tony Blair in 1997, has achieved such poor results in a poll.

Tony Blair’s alliance with President Bush on the war in Iraq contributed to the former prime minister’s falling popularity. Brown, Blair’s closest ally, has inherited that part of Blair’s legacy, and arguably much more.

Headline Link: ‘Gordon Brown's Personal Popularity Hits Historic Low, Poll Shows’

Background: The rebirth of Labour; Blair and Brown’s waning popularity

Opinion & Analysis: How bad does Brown have it?

Key Players: Gordon Brown (1951–)

Reference: The Telegraph YouGov poll, July 29–31, 2008

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