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EDITIONS
Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK
Labour 'trusted on the economy'
Tony Blair
The poll will make encouraging reading for Tony Blair
An opinion poll for the BBC on Labour's five years in power suggests voters trust it on the economy - but little else.


On the NHS, some of our initial moves were a little timid

Peter Mandelson

They believe the party has failed to deliver on key areas such as transport, crime and the NHS - and is too obsessed with spin.

However, seven out of ten people think Prime Minister Tony Blair is a "nice" person with firm principles.

The poll contains little cheer for the Conservatives, as Iain Duncan Smith waits for the results of the English local elections - his first major electoral test since becoming leader last year.

Still waiting

The Tories were third behind the Liberal Democrats in every question except "trust to run the economy".

Even on this - their best question - almost twice as many people trusted the Labour government - 53% - than trusted the Conservatives - 27%.

But the worrying finding for all politicians is that 53% of people polled trusted no party to keep its promises.

The ICM poll was conducted for the BBC's Vote 2002 programme presented by David Dimbleby and Peter Snow.

It suggests that the public was still waiting for the government to fulfil its promises on education, the NHS, crime and transport.

Just 25% of people thought Labour had delivered on crime, while 14% thought they had succeeded in developing an integrated transport policy.

'Timid'

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson, one of the chief architects of New Labour, said he was not disappointed by the poll findings.

He thought it showed people believed Labour was "competent" and was making progress towards its goals.

However, he admitted that Labour had got off to a slow start in some areas.

"For example, on the NHS, some of our initial moves were a little timid, a little centralising and perhaps lacked innovation," Mr Mandelson told the BBC's Vote 2001 programme.

He said Labour in 1997 was coming out of 18 years in opposition and its ministers and ideas were untried.

Labour's second term would be marked by "stronger delivery", he said.

Failed to deliver

ICM Research interviewed a random selection of 1001 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 26-28 April 2002.

Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to profile all adults.

A separate piece of research by the BBC, released on Thursday, showed Labour had met 79% of its 1997 election pledges.

But it had failed to deliver in some key areas such as cancer treatment and crime reduction.


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02 May 02 | UK Politics
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