Is the end nigh for Gordon Brown and the Labour Party?

March 13, 2010, 1:00 AM GMT+0

With the general election fast approaching, greater attention has turned to the leadership of the two main political parties (Labour and Conservative) and their respective leaders Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

People like you

A survey commissioned by the Sun newspaper has found that when asked if they felt each leader ‘understood problems faced by people like you’, Britons' opinion for David Cameron rose five percent, from 25% to 30% between the 25th February and the 1st March. Gordon Brown, however, did not fare as well as his Conservative rival, with a two percent decrease in confidence levels, from 35% to 33% over the same period. However, that his score remains higher than Cameron’s in total suggests that despite his general lack of popularity in the press and the polls, Brown is still seen as more understanding of the electorate’s day to day problems than his Conservative counterpart.

Notwithstanding, Gordon Brown’s character has been called into question by the British public on a number of issues. 61% of GB adults felt that he lacked the necessary character to be an effective PM. The onslaught against the PM’s character did not stop there; 54% of respondents thought that Brown had ‘starved the armed forces of funding’ during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In response to the same question, only 12% thought the military had been adequately funded. A further 60% believe that Brown is a poor wartime leader; only 16% think him adequate.

These statistics are of no great surprise, as New Labour, which came to power in 1997, has had to contend with a plethora of divisive issues, such as the rising fatalities among the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the crippling economic downturn, which has facilitated mass unemployment and lost investments, and an embarrassing attempted cabinet coup against the PM from within his own party. It is therefore no surprise that when asked, a third (33%) of GB adults said that they would like to see a Conservative government ruling by itself after the upcoming election. Labour on its own took 25% of the vote. And while 10% would prefer a hung Conservative coalition, slightly more would choose a hung Labour coalition (12%).

No piece of cake for Cameron

However, it would be somewhat naive to think that the upcoming election will be nothing more than a cake-walk for David Cameron. The 70% of GB adults who perceive the whole Ashcroft affair (Lord Ashcroft recently admitted to not being domiciled in the UK for tax purposes) as being totally underhanded and wrong, the 51% that believe the Conservative party are rich and elitist or the 41% who say that they would be dismayed should a Conservative government be formed under David Cameron, may ensure he gets no cake at all. This is one result that only time will tell.

For survey details and full results, please click here