UK’s Labour government doomed with or without Brown, poll suggests


London : British voters are increasingly writing off Labour’s chances of winning the next election, with fewer people believing that a change of leader or policy would help the party, according to a new poll.

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A Populus poll published in the Times newspaper Tuesday found that barely half of respondents, 52 percent, thought that replacing Prime Minister Gordon Brown would improve the government’s chances of winning a fourth consecutive term.

The findings come amid a frenzy of reports suggesting that Brown, after just over a year in office, is under growing pressure to resign following a spate of disastrous by-election defeats.

But the poll showed that there was a three-point rise, to 44 per cent, in the number saying that even replacing him with “a younger, fresher, more charismatic alternative” would not make Labour more likely to win.

The number of voters who believe that significant policy changes in areas such as the health service, crime and tax would make a difference has also fallen from 69 to 56 percent since May.

The number warning that even new policies would not boost Labour’s chances of being re-elected, has also jumped from 26 to 41 percent.

Over half, 55 percent, further believed that a big cabinet reshuffle would not help.

The next general election is held by June 2010 at the latest, but it is expected it would be more likely to be called within a matter of months if Brown is forced out of office, being the second time following Tony Blair being replaced last year.

The poll confirmed that Labour is still lingering far behind the Conservatives with only 27 percent support, 16 points adrift from the main opposition party.

The alarm now being expressed among Labour activists is that support for the party is now so, it may take at least two general elections to recover.