WORLD : Thatcher’s Popularity Slumps to 50-Year Low in Gallup Poll

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Margaret Thatcher’s popularity has slumped to the lowest of any British prime minister for at least 50 years, a new Gallup poll showed today.

The poll said that out of more than 10,000 people interviewed, 24% said they were satisfied with Thatcher’s performance--a drop of 5.2% since the last poll.

That figure would make her the least-popular prime minister in Britain since opinion polls began here more than half a century ago.

The last British prime minister to occupy this niche was former Labor leader Harold Wilson, whose popularity slumped to 27% in 1968, eight years before his resignation.


Thatcher, in her third straight term in office, is the object of public outrage over a new local tax and is also under fire for her government’s handling of the economy, hit by 8% inflation and high interest rates.

The poll showed the opposition Labor Party steaming ahead with a 24.5% lead over Thatcher’s Conservatives.

The poll put Labor at 52.5%, gaining three points since its last polls a month ago, while the Conservatives had 28%, down three points.

Labor has only twice in the past breached the 20-point mark in Gallup surveys. On each occasion--in June, 1963, and July, 1971--Labor went on to win the next election.