A majority of British voters think Prime Minister Gordon Brown is doing a poor job in supporting his country’s troops in Afghanistan and is heading for defeat at the ballot box, the Sun newspaper said.
In a front page article headlined “Casualty of War,” the paper found seven in 10 voters think the government is doing a “very bad” or “fairly bad” job supporting the 9000 British soldiers in Afghanistan, Reuters reports.
The YouGov opinion poll was published on the same day news of another British casualty was recorded the 211th member of the British armed forces to have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001.
The poll found twice as many voters believe Britain’s armed forces would be better off in the hands of Conservative party leader David Cameron.
Critics have said the war effort is being undermined by a lack of equipment and personnel. Brown visited his troops in Afghanistan last weekend in a show of solidarity.
The poll also found Cameron’s party was 14 % ahead of the Labour party.
If repeated at the general election, which has to be held before next June, the Conservatives would have 42 % of the vote, with Labour trailing on 28 % and the Liberal Democrats on 17 %.
Labour’s rating was up two points since the paper’s last YouGov poll, but the top-selling tabloid, which is often seen as an electoral bellwether, said in its leader column: “Nine months from now, David Cameron looks certain to be prime minister.”
The Conservatives would have a 96-seat landslide, comfortably bringing to an end Labour rule dating back to 1997.
Dominic Mohan took over as the editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun this week and political pundits are looking to see how the paper lines up under his leadership.
The poll is in line with other recent opinion polls carried out in different newspapers.
Brown has been trying to revive his party’s fortunes after its support slumped to the lowest level in a century in European elections in June.
Analysts have blamed everything from the economic crisis and unemployment rising to its highest level since 1996 to a scandal over MPs’ expenses claims and Brown’s personal style for Labour’s poor showing in polls.
The prime minister has also been criticised for his response to the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds last month.
He said it was a matter for the Scottish government, but Cameron accused him of double-dealing in favour of trade links with Libya.
The Sun opinion poll found six out of 10 voters thought Brown was doing fairly or very badly as prime minister, with only 16 % thinking he was doing a good job.
The poll also found 38 % of voters thought Cameron would make the best prime minister compared with just 19 % for Brown.
Pic: UK troops in Afgan