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The Tally Ho

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Is Blair Finished as PM?

Tony Blair's future is of interest to me. The Guardian just published this poll that tries to assess British voters. Here is a chunk of the article
Mr Blair may feel that it is his personal political reputation rather than that of the Labour party which has suffered most from the continuing row over the Iraq war. This month's poll provides further fuel for that analysis, as it shows that Gordon Brown would more than double Labour's lead to 11 points over the Tories if he were Labour leader.

The detailed ICM poll find ings show that Mr Blair's personal rating remains firmly in the doldrums at minus-22 points. Only 36% of voters are satisfied with his performance as prime minister, while 58% are unhappy. Among Labour voters 77% give him their approval, but his overall rating has now been bouncing along the bottom of the graph since the Iraq war.

Despite "four inquiries and no funeral", a clear majority of voters, 55% now believe that Mr Blair did lie over the war. Those who believe it was not justified rose from 43% in May to 56% this month. Support for the invasion has fallen over the same period from 44% to 38%. Among Labour voters 58% say they still support the war and 38% are opposed. Those opposed are mainly Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.

The decline in Mr Blair's personal standing is clearly shown. In 1997 only 21% regarded him as arrogant; 65% felt he was in tune with them; 80% felt he had "lots of personality"; and 57% felt he was tough. Now 52% regard him as arrogant; only 37% believe he is in tune with them; and 54% say he is full of personality.

Only a year ago, 49% believed he was honest - a rating that has fallen to only 37% today. The voters are not all unkind to him. More than 70% now regard him as "experienced" and more interestingly 57% say that he is "competent" - up from 52% a year ago.

I keep waiting for the polling to show Mr. Bush in freefall, but it doesn't seem to happen. I just have a feeling that if US voters reject Bush, Blair will be right behind him and replaced by Gordon Brown.

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