Two Prime Ministers?

According to YouGov’s monthly poll 47% of people agree that it looks as though Britain currently has two Prime Ministers – Gordon Brown and Tony Blair – and they don’t seem to like it. The seems to be strong support for Blair going sooner rather than later – 36% of people thought that Tony Blair should stand aside for Gordon Brown within the year, with a further 13% wanting Blair to step down next year. Only 23% now want Blair to continue until the end of the Parliament. This isn’t just non-Labour voters playing silly-buggers, 45% of Labour voters want Blair to go this year or next year.

Asked if they think Gordon Brown will make a good Prime Minister people are divided – 36% think he will, 33% think he won’t. Predictably the answers are strongly partisan, 67% of current Labour voters think he will be a good Prime Ministers while only 13% of Tory voters do.

There are also mixed expectations on whether people think Brown will take Labour in a new direction or continue Tony Blair’s policies. 31% think that “he will take the Government in a quite different direction from the one it is now going in”, while 51% think that “it will be pretty much ‘business as usual’”.

Finally YouGov asked respondents if they agreed with a series of statements about the Labour government, and it painted a very bleak picture. 57% think that Labour no longer have a clear sense of direction, 49% think the party is badly divided, 49% think it “looks as though the wheels are falling off the coach”, 60% think it is hard to know what the Labour party stands for anymore and only 31% think the government is still concerned about promoting the welfare of ordinary working people. Together the statements suggest the Labour government’s image is increasingly tarnished – it remains to be seen whether the appointment of a new party leader, presumably Gordon Brown when the time comes, can re-energise and redefine the party.

The poll also highlights another potential problem for the government – every month the YouGov/Telegraph poll also has a question on economic optimism, which normally glides along without much worthy of comment. This month the net economic optimism figure (the so called “feel good factor” – the percentage of people who think things are getting better minus the percentage of people who think they will get worse) has dropped from -19 last month, to -30 this month – the lowest for two years.

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