British Prime Minister Tony Blair received an extra present for his 50th birthday on Tuesday with the news that his personal standing as leader has jumped, The Times newspaper reported.
The boost comes even though the opposition Conservatives have sharply narrowed the gap on Blair's ruling Labor over the past month.
The new Populus poll for The Times asked voters to rate party leaders on a 1-to-10 scale (from very bad to very good). Blair nowhas an average rating of 5.75, compared with 5.17 in March, beforethe war against Iraq, and 5.02 in February.
Nearly a third of voters rate him 8 out of 10 or higher, compared with less a fifth three months ago.
Conservatives leader Iain Duncan Smith's personal rating has also been improving this year, from 4.00 in February to 4.33 now.
Charles Kennedy, the leader of the second largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party, is rated at 4.89 now, down from 5.20 in February, when his personal rating was highest of the three leaders.
However, any "Baghdad bounce"from the end of the Iraq war has benefited Blair personally but has had only a short lived impact on the fortunes of the Labor Party as a whole, according to the poll.
Support for Labor and the Conservatives has returned to about the same level as in February and March, after widening sharply last month.
The Labor Party now stands on 36 percent, five points down on the poll taken during the fighting last month. This compares with 35 and 34 percent in the two pre-Iraq war months.
By contrast, support for the Conservatives has risen five points to 34 percent, the same as before the war.
The Liberal Democrats are unchanged on 22 percent, compared with their pre-Iraq war standing of 25 percent.
The Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged over 18 by telephone between May 2 and 4. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.