British Prime Minister Tony Blair suffered a fresh blow to his authority on Friday as a survey of the public found that his main rival, David Cameron, is the preferred choice to lead the country.
It is the first time in more than a decade that a leader of the main opposition Conservative Party has topped Blair on the popularity stakes, according to the YouGov poll published in the right-wing Daily Telegraph.
Asked who would make the best prime minister, 30 per cent of those polled named Cameron, who is the latest -- but seemingly most successful -- in a string of five Conservative leaders since Blair came to power in 1997.
Just 28 per cent of people chose Blair of the governing Labour Party.
The findings will also make grim reading for Labour's prime-minister-in-waiting, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.
Brown is expected to take over from Blair, who has pledged to step down before the next election, due by 2010, after serving three terms in office.
However, his time at 10 Downing Street may be over in a flash if the youthful Cameron, who only took over the Tory leadership in December, storms to victory in the polls.
The YouGov survey asked people what government they would like to see after the next general election.
Forty-four per cent said a Conservative government led by Cameron, against 38 per cent who chose a Labour government led by Brown.