Brown's leadership under threat

LONDON - Gordon Brown has suffered a devastating collapse in his public standing, according to a new survey published in the Observer which will put his leadership under intensified pressure.

The research shows only one in five voters thinks he is doing a good job.

He is rated worse than Conservative Party leader David Cameron on every key leadership quality, including competence, decisiveness, fairness, likeability, trustworthiness and strength.

A unique opinion tracker using a panel of 5000 voters, much larger than conventional opinion polls, reveals that he is floundering in his attempt to campaign for public respect after Labour's large losses in the council elections. Three-quarters think he is doing a bad job, and almost half of them believe he is doing a very bad job, according to the first results from the survey published on the website PoliticsHome.com.

But the scale of the downturn in his personal reputation with voters will further swell mounting anxiety among Labour MPs and ministers, especially those defending marginal seats. It is bound to amplify concerns that Brown lacks the presentational skills and leadership qualities to turn round the Government's fortunes.

There is speculation about a challenge to his leadership as Labour backbenchers reel from their party's massacre in the local elections and fear losing the Crewe and Nantwich byelection to a resurgent Tory Party.

- OBSERVER

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