LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s personal ratings have fallen again after he survived attempts to force him out of office, although the Labour Party’s standing has improved, an opinion poll said on Friday.
With a parliamentary election less than a year away, the Conservative Party is in first place on 36 percent, down five points since the last poll two weeks ago.
Labour rose three points to 24 percent, while the Liberal Democrats were up four on 19, according to the Populus survey in the Times newspaper.
Brown defied calls from within his own centre-left party to resign last week after it slumped to its worst performance in a nationwide vote since 1990, falling to third place in European elections. A wave of ministerial resignations and the fallout from a row over lawmakers’ expenses claims has further eroded his authority.
Brown’s leadership rating fell to 4.38, from 4.47 in early May, on a scale from zero to 10. His rating was 4.97 in January compared with lows of about 4 last summer and a brief high of 5 in the autumn amid praise for his early handling of the financial crisis.
Only 22 percent of those polled thought the former Chancellor was the right person to lead Britain after the next election, compared to 44 percent for Conservative leader David Cameron.
The poll suggested voters are growing more confident that the economy will begin to recover over the next year.
Nearly a third said they think the economy will do well in the next 12 months, compared to a low in January of 18 percent.
However, 63 percent still fear it will do badly, down from 79 percent in January.
Chancellor Alistair Darling cautioned against being too optimistic, despite encouraging signs from economic data, such as the first rise in UK industrial output for over a year in April.
“I think people should not become complacent (about the recovery),” he said in an interview with Friday’s Financial Times.
* Populus interviewed 1,001 adults by telephone on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Louise Ireland