Frontrunner to be next British prime minister dealt poll blow

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 15, 2013 10:24 AM
Frontrunner to be next British prime minister dealt poll blow

LONDON (Reuters) - Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labor party and the frontrunner to succeed David Cameron as Britain's prime minister in 2015, saw his popularity rating fall to an all-time low on Thursday.

The survey, which said only 28 percent of those asked approved of his work, down 13 percentage points year-on-year, came a day after he was pelted with eggs in a London market.

The poll is likely to fuel doubts about his performance inside his own party after a string of Labor lawmakers spoke out about what they regard as his failure to sell his party's policies hard enough ahead of the 2015 election.

The same poll put overall support for Miliband's party at 40 percent, 10 percent ahead of Cameron's Conservatives, meaning his party's popularity would see him become prime minister if an election was held today, despite public skepticism about him.

However, other recent polls have estimated Labor's opinion poll lead to be much slimmer and some Labor strategists think it should be bigger at this stage in the electoral cycle, given that Cameron's government has presided over three years of painful austerity and, until recently, a stagnant economy.

Ipsos MORI, the pollster, said Miliband's satisfaction rating of 28 percent was his lowest since he became party leader in September 2010. His rating stood at 30 percent in July and at a high of 41 percent last August.

He was also the least liked political leader, it added, despite leading the most liked party, with 63 percent of those asked saying they disliked him. Forty percent of Labor supporters themselves said they didn't know what he stood for.

The same survey underscored one of the quirks of the British political landscape, saying Cameron remained the most popular political leader but in charge of the least popular party.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,007 adults by phone between August 10-12.

(Reporting By Andrew Osborn; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)