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Britain's Labour poll rating hits 20-year low

Written by: Staff

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) Voter support for British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two decades, an opinion poll showed today.

Only 29 percent of voters supported Labour, while 39 percent backed the opposition Conservatives, said the ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper.

The Conservatives have a new leader in David Cameron, while uncertainty over Blair's timetable to step down -- he has said he will quit within a year -- and whether finance minister Gordon Brown will replace him have added to Labour's woes.

Labour won power under Blair in 1997 and its third term in office does not run out until 2009.

The Guardian said an attack by Cameron on the government's handling of the National Health Service (NHS) and the prospect of tax cuts appeared to have boosted the Conservatives' standing.

Ony 25 percent of voters said the NHS had improved since Labour came to power in 1997.

Labour's rating equalled its lowest level in a Guardian/ICM poll recorded in May 1987, one month before then Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher won a third term in office.

Reuters PDS VP0740

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