Labour's poll ratings worst since Michael Foot

Labour hit by a lack of trust in Blair
Labour hit by a lack of trust in Blair

Labour has slipped to its lowest poll ratings since 1983, recalling its crushing election defeat under Michael Foot.

A monthly poll from Communicate for the Independent found support for Labour had slipped four points to 27 per cent, leaving the party facing its worst poll ratings for nearly 25 years.

Combined with a consistent lead for the SNP in Scottish polls, Labour is expected to slump considerably in next month's Welsh, Scottish and local election. Tony Blair now faces leaving Downing Street amid considerably fewer cheers than the flag-waving scenes of 1997.

However, the Conservatives have failed to fully capitalise on Mr Blair's declining popularity, rising only one point to 36 per cent.

Support for the Liberal Democrats has increased by two points, placing them on 22 per cent, while other parties have also picked up Labour voters, rising one point to 15 per cent.

Worryingly for Labour, they are losing support both among the general public and their 'natural' voters. Labour supporters are the least likely to back their party in the next election. In contrast, 90 per cent of 'natural Tories' plan to vote for David Cameron's party.

Labour have also lost popularity among women and young people. Support among women has fallen to 24 per cent, compared to 31 per cent of men. Meanwhile, their ratings among young people have dropped from 39 per cent to 24 per cent in a month.

The poll was conducted over the weekend and it is possible Labour's popularity was dented by the latest headlines in the cash-for-honours investigation.

However, the Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain also admits the Labour leadership has "lost touch" with the electorate.

In an interview with the Parliamentary Monitor magazine, Mr Hain said the party needed to reconsolidate its leadership and rebuild trust with voters, or it could not beat a "resurgent" Conservative party.

However, he maintained Labour could still achieve a historic fourth term, pointing to a healthy economy and strong policy platform.

Last week, Mr Blair insisted it was "obvious" Labour could beat Mr Cameron's Conservatives at the next general election, insisting the Tories were not a viable choice for government.

Mr Hain agreed with his leader, claiming Mr Cameron has seen his popularity rise during an "elongated honeymoon period" which will end with a "big bump" as soon as he is forced to make real choices.

"It has been a slick re-spray job on the party but the chassis underneath is still the same," he concluded.


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