- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

LONDON (AP) | Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labor Party has fallen 20 points behind the surging Conservative Party as Britain’s economic woes deepen, a poll released Tuesday shows.

The Ipsos-MORI poll of 1,001 British adults could spell bad news for Mr. Brown and Labor, the party in power since May 1997, in advance of the next general election, which must be held by the summer of 2010.

Julia Clark, Ipsos-MORI political research director, said that Conservative Party leader David Cameron is well positioned to become prime minister when that vote is held.

“Unless there is a major scandal, or an international crisis that causes people to rally behind their current leader, Mr. Cameron should be elected,” she said.

The poll suggests that the brief bounce Mr. Brown enjoyed after he intervened to rescue the banking system has dissipated.

The Conservatives enjoy backing from 48 percent of those who said they were “absolutely certain” to vote, while Labor got only 28 percent support from that group, the poll states.

“This is a very low share for Labor, among the lowest since we began polling in the ‘70s,” Ms. Clark said.

“We have to remember that they were very unpopular before the economic crisis hit, then they had a bit of a reprieve when people rallied behind Brown, but now that is over and people are remembering why they were unhappy in the first place.”

The margin of error for this segment of the poll was four percentage points, she said.

The poll also shows Mr. Brown’s personal approval ratings are dropping. Last month 33 percent of those polled said they were “satisfied” with his job performance, but that figure dropped to 26 percent this month.

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