You say it's time for Blair to leave
By Ian Kirby
NEARLY half the country's voters want Tony Blair out of Downing Street...NOW!
That's the shock verdict of a News of the World poll today—showing that time really is up for the Premier once dubbed Teflon Tony.
The exclusive poll reveals that 42 per cent of voters want him to quit immediately and that 57 per cent—nearly three in five—say he should certainly go within a year.
Today's findings also show how dramatically Mr Blair's support has ebbed away in the past four months, leaving him a lame duck Prime Minister.
When pollsters ICM last asked the question in November 2005 just 28 per cent wanted him to go straightaway. That's now up by another 14 per cent.
Download the full poll results
Since then Mr Blair has been left reeling by a series of body blows, beginning with David Cameron being elected Tory leader—and the Conservatives going ahead in the opinion polls.
In February Labour lost the Dunfermline West by-election, their 11,000 majority smashed by the Liberal Democrats.
And in the past month the party has become embroiled in the "loans for peerages" scandal—with much of the blame for the mess being laid at the door of No 10. Now just 21 per cent of people believe Mr Blair should change his mind and stay on until after the next general election, down four per cent from November.
He has also lost the edge he held over Chancellor Gordon Brown. In June 2004 voters thought Mr Blair would make the best PM by 45 per cent to Mr Brown's 34 per cent. Today, that lead has vanished, with both men standing at 30 per cent.
The current uncertainty over the Labour leadership is having an effect, too, with 15 per cent saying it has made them less likely to vote for the party.
Tory Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said last night: "The poll shows Blair has no authority to tackle any of the key long-term challenges, such as pension reform."
And bookies William Hill last night made Mr Blair 6/5 to go by Christmas.
# ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1012 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 29-30 March 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk