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As British PM ponders early election, polls say surge for opposition

As British PM ponders early election, polls say surge for opposition

Polls released Thursday suggest Britain's opposition Conservatives have closed the electoral gap on the Labour Party of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is considering calling an early election.
A survey by pollster ICM for The Guardian newspaper said the two main parties were neck-and-neck, with both Labour and the Tories gaining the support of 38 percent of respondents _ a 6-point surge for the Conservatives from a similar poll a month ago. The third-party Liberal Democrats were at 16 percent.
A poll conducted by Populus for The Times newspaper gave Labour 39 percent support, compared with 36 percent for the Conservatives and 15 percent for the Liberal Democrats.
Populus interviewed 803 adults by telephone Oct. 2 and 3, while ICM interviewed 1,008 adults Oct. 3 and 4. In both cases the margin of error is about plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Brown replaced Tony Blair as premier just over three months ago, and does not have to call an election until May 2010. But he is considering holding a vote to seek his own, five-year mandate and to increase Labour's majority in Parliament.
Brown has enjoyed a comfortable lead in recent polls thanks to his sure-footed handling of several potential crises, including the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow this summer, floods in England and an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Early election talk intensified after Brown made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Tuesday and said British forces there would be cut by 1,000 by Christmas.
The Conservative surge came after leader David Cameron gave a strong speech to his party's annual conference this week, in which he made eye-catching promises including a cut in inheritance tax.


Updated : 2021-10-22 02:21 GMT+08:00