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Voters rate May’s leadership higher than Thatcher – poll

The ranking is the strongest the pollster has recorded since it began asking the question in the 1970s.

Conservatives have extended their poll lead over Labour to 23 percentage points in a survey which suggests voters rate Theresa May more highly than Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair for leadership.

The Ipsos Mori poll found 61% of voters saw Mrs May as the “most capable” of the leaders of the main political parties, against 23% for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.

The ranking is the strongest the pollster has recorded since it began asking the question in the 1970s, outstripping Mrs Thatcher’s peak of 48% shortly before her landslide defeat of Michael Foot in 1983 and Mr Blair’s high point of 52% ahead of his emphatic 2001 election victory over William Hague.

The poll put Conservatives on 49% – up six points since last month – against Labour’s 26% (down four). Liberal Democrats were unchanged on 13%, while Ukip slumped from 6% to 4% and Greens were down from 4% to 1%.

If repeated at the ballot box, it suggests Mrs May is heading for a majority comfortably over 100 seats on June 8.

A senior Labour source said that political polls had “a chequered record” in recent years, and insisted Mr Corbyn’s party could still win the election.

Voters would turn towards Labour once they had the chance to hear Mr Corbyn’s message “unmediated” by the press, he said.

“We have the fight of our life on our hands, but I think it’s clear that as Labour is able to speak in its own voice in this election campaign, in a way that hasn’t been entirely the case for the previous 18 months, I think the public will respond clearly to what are very popular policies that we will be setting out to transform the way Britain is run in the interests of the many, not the few,” said the source.

“We are talking about a policy platform that will be supported by a majority of people in this country when they get to hear about it in a less mediated way than is normally the case. I think there will definitely be a change in public support.”

He added: “We are confident we can win this election.”

:: Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,004 adults across Britain between April 21 and 25.

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