Mon, Aug 13, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Labour Party gets ratings bump with Brown, poll says

COOLER Following his first summit as prime minister, 73 percent think Brown is less close to Bush than Blair, which has won him greater approval


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has led his Labour Party to its biggest poll lead over the opposition since before the Iraq War, a survey showed yesterday.

Labour is 10 points ahead of the main opposition Conservatives, taking it to heights of popularity not recorded by YouGov since November 2002, according to their poll for the Sunday Times newspaper.

Many commentators say Iraq soured the final years of Tony Blair's premiership and, since taking over on June 27, Brown has seemed much cooler on the issue, appointing some anti-war ministers including former UN deputy secretary general Mark Malloch Brown.

The poll puts Labour at 42 percent, up two points from one month ago, and the Conservatives at 32 percent, down one point.

Following his first summit as prime minister with US President George W. Bush last month, 73 percent think Brown is less close to Bush than Blair, dubbed the president's "poodle" by some British papers.

And 74 percent of people say British troops should be brought home from Iraq immediately or over the next year, according to the poll.

On the domestic front, Brown's "bounce" since coming into office is also continuing, the poll suggests.

Brown won approval in both polls for his handling of a recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease among cattle. He has also had to deal with a flooding crisis and attempted car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow since he took over.

The poll will fuel speculation that Brown will call an early general election.

Some analysts see a possible vote later this year or next, although many note his characteristic caution and do not expect him to rush.

YouGov interviewed 1,966 electors online on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10.

A second poll, conducted by ICM for the Sunday Mirror, gave Labour 39 percent support and the Conservatives 33 percent.

A total of 82 percent said Brown had handled the foot and mouth scare very or quite well and his overall satisfaction rating was 59 percent.

The paper did not give details of how many people were questioned for the poll or when.

Brown's honeymoon has coincided with a reversal in the fortunes of Conservative leader David Cameron following a number of public relations gaffes and criticism within his party of his modernizing crusade.

In the same poll, 65 percent of people said Brown was doing a good job and only 17 percent thought he was doing badly.

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