Flash Gordon

Andrew Rawnsley reflects on the findings of a 5000-sample poll published in today’s Observer.

What will especially frighten his advisers is the utter failure of the attempt to mount a fightback since the May Day massacre. In the wake of Labour’s slaughter in the local elections, the Prime Minister has toured TV’s soft sofas in an bid to claw back some public affection. Attempting to do human, he has told voters that he ‘feels your pain’. The public are not responding with empathy for his plight, but with an even bigger urge to inflict pain on their Prime Minister. His personal ratings have actually turned for the worse since he attempted the relaunch of his premiership.

It is not just the depth of this collapse that is stunning. It is the sheer width of it, the comprehensive shattering of his reputation in all the areas that matter to the public. On every leadership quality that is important, the Prime Minister is now regarded less favourably than David Cameron. Even when Jim Callaghan’s Labour government was in terminal decay, his personal ratings were still higher than those of Margaret Thatcher. Mr Brown, a figure who has been dominant in British government for more than a decade, is now seen as less fit to be Prime Minister than his Tory rival, a man whose only job in government has been as a bag carrier to Norman Lamont…