Labour loses support as voters turn away from 'underperforming' Brown

Gordon Brown now less popular than Tony Blair
Gordon Brown now less popular than Tony Blair

Gordon Brown's premiership has been plunged into a fresh crisis, as his approval ratings hit the lowest level yet.

Voters increasingly regard Labour as incapable of dealing with the problems facing the UK, as pessimism over the economic outlook worsens.

Less than two in five (37 per cent) of voters believe Labour is competent and capable, down from 56 per cent in September.

Conversely faith in the Conservatives has risen from 39 per cent to 45 per cent.

Despite a crisis of confidence in Mr Brown's leadership, the Conservatives are failing to fully capitalise on Labour's downturn.

Although the decline of Labour's popularity mirrors the desertion of the Conservatives in the mid-1990s, David Cameron is yet to claim the levels of support enjoyed by Tony Blair in opposition.

The Conservatives are just six points ahead of the government, having risen two points to 39 per cent.

Support for Labour has fallen one point over the past month to 33 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats also fall two points to 17 per cent.

The Conservatives have been leading the open polls every month for the past two years - apart from a flurry of support for Mr Brown in three months last summer, the novelty of which prompted speculation of an early election.

Despite hoping to represent change when entering Downing Street just nine months ago, the Populus poll for the Times shows a third of voters think he is worse than Mr Blair.

Overall, Mr Brown's personal approval rating is down from 4.59 to 4.50, measured out of ten, with only one month of Mr Blair's leadership recording lower popularity.

Mr Cameron remains the most popular leader on 4.96, but his popularity has also dipped in the past month, from 5.23.

Despite criticism over his handling of the EU debate and ridicule for his sexual openness, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg's index has risen from 4.16 to 4.27.

Mr Brown justified not calling the anticipated autumn election on the grounds of needing time to set out his "vision" for Britain.

But the poll shows Britons think Mr Brown has done little for Britain, with 62 per cent say his leadership has made no difference and 33 per cent saying he has done little for Britain.

Just three per cent of voters think Mr Brown has made a real difference to Britain since taking office in June.

More than a third of voters say Mr Brown has been a worse prime minister than expected, up from just six per cent in September.

Similarly, five per cent of voters think he has been a better than expected leader, up from 21 per cent in September.

Underpinning Labour's declining popularity is a lack of faith in economy, with the proportion of people expecting it to do well over the next year at its lowest level (39 per cent) in five years.

More than half (56 per cent) of voters now expected the economy to perform badly, up from 45 per cent six months ago.


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