Mrs. Thatcher called Britain's most unpopular leader since WW II

Dec. 18, 1981
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LONDON -- Margaret Thatcher has become Britain's most unpopular prime minister since World War II, with 70 percent of the voters dissatisfied with her and more than half the country behind the new moderate alliance of Social Democrats and Liberals, a Gallup poll released Friday reported.

Government statistics showed meanwhile that Britain's persistent inflation roseito 12 percent last month despite Mrs. Thatcher's conservative austerity program and an official report said the inflation rate was not likely to drop for at least six months

Mrs. Thatcher has stubbornly insisted her tight money policies were designed to bring inflation under 10 percent.

The Gallup poll published in the London Daily Telegraph said Mrs. Thatcher's popularity plummeted to the lowest point reached by any prime minister since World War II when modern polling methods were born.

Some 70 percent of thoseiquestioned in the latest British poll said they were dissatisfied with Mrs. Thatcher's administration. The lowest previous unpopularity rating was that of Labor Prime Minister Harold Wilson with 68 percent reported dissatisfied in 1968.

The poll also said 50.5 percent of voters now support the Social Democrats and Liberals -- a 22 percent increase in just three months.

Support slumped for both Mrs. Thatcher's Conservatives and the opposition Labor Party. Labor's popularity dropped to 23.5 percent and the Conservatives held only a 23 percent approval rating.

British prices meanwhile were said to have risen 1.1 percent in November -- a 12 percent annual rate. In October inflation ran at 11.7 percent, the government said.

When the Thatcher government took office in 1979 with a vow to cut inflation, prices were increasing at 12.3 percent a year.

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