British PM in poll position to call election

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown could be encouraged to call a snap general election by two opinion polls out Saturday which predicted a landslide victory for his governing Labour Party.

British PM in poll position to call election
Reports said new premier Brown was to spend the weekend considering whether to gamble on going to the electorate early to seek his own five-year mandate.

The polls gave Labour a whopping double-digit lead over the main opposition Conservatives, who insist they are keen and ready to fight a general election despite the grim reading in Saturday's newspapers.

A Populus poll in The Times put Labour on 41 percent, the Conservatives on 31 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 17 percent.

A separate YouGov survey in The Daily Telegraph had Labour even further ahead, on 43 percent compared to 32 percent for the Tories and 15 percent for the Lib Dems.

Such figures would be enough to give Labour a giant majority due to Britain's first-past-the-post voting system.

Brown took over from Tony Blair as prime minister on June 27, reviving Labour's opinion poll fortunes two years on from the last general election.

YouGov also found Brown was far outstripping Conservative leader David Cameron in his personal ratings.

Some 45 percent of those surveyed thought Brown was in touch with people's concerns, as opposed to just 18 percent saying the same of Cameron.

The Tory chief was regarded as "generally out of touch" by 59 percent, while 57 percent said he appeared "lightweight" compared to Brown.

Populus found 59 percent thought Brown "has what it takes" to be a good prime minister, as opposed to 30 percent for Cameron.

And 78 percent thought Brown had the answers to the big problems facing Britain, compared to 20 percent for Cameron.

"November poll alert as Brown rides high," said the front page of The Times.

"If this pattern holds, then by this time next week Mr Brown will be making his final preparations before asking the Queen to dissolve parliament," its editorial said.

The newspaper said most of Brown's allies want him to gamble on an early election, and though he would not make a formal decision this weekend, he would likely hold another "council of war" during the week and next weekend.

The Conservatives get their turn in the spotlight this week when they gather in Blackpool for their annual conference.

The Times said Brown would be reluctant to call an election during the Tories' gathering, but nonetheless, the week ahead is shaping up to be a straight contest between Brown, with his finger on the trigger and Cameron trying to deter him from firing the starting gun.

Brown did his best to woo Conservative voters during Labour's annual conference last week, after having invited Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the Tory titan and former prime minister, to tea at Downing Street.

However, Thatcher distanced herself from Brown in a message in The Sun newspaper, urging the prime minister to change course and hold a referendum on the European Union treaty.

"May I say to the prime minister, don't believe the assurances from Brussels - they gave similar ones to me!" the 1980s premier said.

"It's not too late to listen and it's not too late to act. This treaty matters prime minister, so be bold and let the people have the final say!"

That was one of few chinks of light for Cameron, who heads to Blackpool later Saturday.

Cameron's finest hour came in the north-west English town two years ago, when his dazzling conference speech all but ensured his election as party leader.

Now he needs another star turn in the faded seaside resort to revive the Conservatives' fortunes and make Brown hesitate.

YouGov sampled 2,165 voters across Britain between Wednesday and Friday. Populus polled 948 adults on Wednesday and Thursday.

Last Mod: 30 Eylül 2007, 11:09
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