Tories Extend Lead To 16 Points

(Guardian) – LABOUR’S HOPES OF A SUMMER FIGHTBACK, powered by economic recovery and the NHS row, are dashed by a new Guardian/ICM poll showing that the Conservatives have gained ground on key policy areas and are now the overwhelming public choice to form the next government.

August voting intentionsDespite a month of policy attacks from Gordon Brown’s summer stand-ins at No 10, and controversy over the Conservative commitment to a state-funded NHS, the opposition has extended its lead to 16 points.

Labour has lost the August battle on health, with more voters thinking the Conservatives would improve the NHS than think the party would make it worse. While 48% think healthcare would be better under a Tory government, only 41% agree with Labour warnings that it would be worse. Even 24% of current Labour voters think the Tories would improve the NHS.

The Tory lead on other policies, including education, is bigger.

In an immediate general election, 25% say they would vote Labour – the joint lowest score in Guardian/ICM polling history and the worst for Labour in the series since June last year. The figure has only been lower once, in an ICM poll carried out for another paper during Labour’s spring leadership crisis.

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