David Cameron fifth in poll of PMs of past 50 years

New survey has the Prime Minister ahead of only John Major and Gordon Brown

David Cameron has come equal fifth in a poll which ranks the eight prime ministers of the past 50 years, ahead of only Sir John Major and Gordon Brown.

A ComRes survey for The Independent on Sunday revealed that Margaret Thatcher comes top of premiers since 1964, scoring 23 points more than the current inhabitant of Downing Street.

The two-times Labour PM, Harold Wilson, came second, 10 points ahead of Mr Cameron, while Tony Blair is third on four points. The Prime Minister is beaten even by Sir Edward Heath, the one-term Conservative premier, who is ahead by one point.

James Callaghan scores the same as Mr Cameron, while Sir John Major is four points behind. Last of the league table is Gordon Brown, who is ranked 17 points lower than Mr Cameron.

There is some good news for the Prime Minister, however, with the Conservatives running close to Labour on voting intentions. Compared with other polls which have put 12 clear points between the two parties, today's survey keeps the gap at only five points, the same margin as a month ago. Labour is down one point, on 36 per cent; while the Tories are also down one, on 31 per cent.

Support for Ukip continues to rise, with the anti-European party up one point to 14 per cent. The Liberal Democrats have faced the most dramatic fall in support, down three points to 8 per cent.

The figures suggest that a general election tomorrow, under current constituency boundaries, would result in Labour wining a majority of 60 seats, with 79 seats wiped off the Conservatives' tally. Nick Clegg's party would lose 36 MPs and retain only 21 seats.

Mr Cameron and George Osborne remain ahead of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls on the question of trust on the economy. Net trust in the Prime Minister and Chancellor's handling of the economy is minus 24 per cent, up six points. For the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor it is minus 35 per cent, down four points. Nearly one in five – 18 per cent – of Labour voters do not trust the Labour pair on the economy.

However, the poll was taken on 13 and 14 February, meaning that Mr Miliband's pledge on Thursday to restore the 10p tax rate is unlikely to have registered with voters.

A quarter of Conservative voters have abandoned the party since the 2010 election, with 17 per cent of their support switched straight to Ukip.

As Tory backbenchers begin to raise concerns about the possibility of losing the next election, voters are apparently not yet ready to place Mr Cameron in the pantheon of great prime ministers. Some 45 per cent of Conservative voters think he is a better PM than Sir Edward Heath. However, exactly the same proportion of Tory voters think he is a worse prime minister than Baroness Thatcher. A significant minority of 16 per cent of Labour voters think Mr Cameron is better than Mr Brown.

Who is the fairest of them all?

1. Margaret Thatcher +23

"Surely this statesman is not the heir to Blair, but the heir to Thatcher," cried Peter Bone, Tory MP, welcoming the PM back from his Brussels triumph. Nope, say the British voters.

2. Harold Wilson +10

In the week of the 50th anniversary of his election as Labour leader, the PM who kept us out of Vietnam and in Europe comes an unexpected second.

3. Tony Blair +4

And in the week of the 10th anniversary of the mass demo against the Iraq war, people still give the three times winner an on balance benign rating.

4. Edward Heath +1

Just one point ahead of Cameron, the chortling bachelor conductor and sailor PM took us into the European Community in 1973.

=5. David Cameron 0

Well down the ratings, and slipping four points since two years ago, the "heir to Blair" no longer matches his hero.

=5. James Callaghan 0

Cameron must be surprised to find himself sharing fifth place with the three-year PM who ushered in 18 years of Tory rule.

7. John Major -4

The last Tory PM to win an election, Major lost control of his party over Europe. Last week, he endorsed his successor's promise of a referendum.

8. Gordon Brown -17

He won enough respect at the last election to deny Cameron a majority, but still takes most of the blame for the present state of the UK's finances.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Permanent post for a Key stag...

Geography Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Geography Teacher urgently ...

SEN Teachers and Support Staff

£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...

SharePoint Engineer - Bishop's Stortford

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering