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EDITIONS
Friday, 13 December, 2002, 07:42 GMT
Polls suggest damage to Labour
Cherie and Tony Blair
The Blairs enjoy very differing perceptions
Two separate polls have suggested most people believe the government has been damaged by the "Cheriegate" row.

The nature of the prime minister's wife's dealings with Australian conman Peter Foster - in the purchase of two flats in Bristol - has filled the newspapers.

But a survey in the Daily Telegraph suggested nearly three-quarters believed Tony Blair had not been harmed by the furore surrounding his wife.

And a poll in the Guardian found that 53% of those questioned agreed that the property row was "a private matter that does not merit the intensive media attention that it has been given".

Peter Foster
Peter Foster has spoken little about the issue
The Guardian ICM survey found two-thirds believed the affair had damaged the government, with 19% saying it had been wounded "a lot".

And just over half who responded to the YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph agreed that the saga had done the government some damage, with a further 23% saying it had dealt the government a real and lasting blow.

Both polls found only 24% of respondents thought the affair had left the government relatively unscathed.

The Guardian poll also found only one in three fully believed Cherie Blair's explanation for how she came to have dealings with Mr Foster.

The survey found opinion to be deeply divided with 34% saying they were satisfied with Mrs Blair's account, 35% who were dissatisfied and 31% who said they did not know.

The Telegraph poll found half of respondents thought Mrs Blair had put on an act when she spoke about the affair on Tuesday, with 37% finding her genuine and sincere.

'Foolish'

YouGov found respondents divided on whether they believed Mrs Blair's version of events, with 41% saying she was being truthful and 40% saying she was not.

The majority (88%) of those asked as part of the Telegraph survey said they thought Mrs Blair had been foolish and 53% said she had acted immorally, but 71% said they did not think she'd done anything illegal.

The YouGov poll found a total of 71% saying Mrs Blair had acted properly in buying the flats, but 60% maintaining she had acted improperly by phoning Mr Foster's solicitor about his extradition case.

ICM interviewed 617 adults aged 18 and over by telephone on December 11.

YouGov elicited the opinions of 1,726 adults across Britain online on Wednesday and yesterday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Prime Minister Tony Blair
"Everyone's had their pound of flesh and now it's time to move on"
The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"It is claimed Foster called his girlfriend Carole Caplin stupid"
 VOTE RESULTS
Cherie speech: Were you convinced?

Yes
 38.56% 

No
 61.44% 

30800 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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13 Dec 02 | Politics
12 Dec 02 | Politics
12 Dec 02 | Politics
11 Dec 02 | Politics
11 Dec 02 | Politics
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