Blow for Jeremy Corbyn as poll shows sharp rise in voters who think Labour has 'serious anti-semitism problem'
More than half of the public now thinks Labour has a "serious anti-semitism problem", according to a new poll.
The ComRes study, carried out for the Jewish News, shows that 51% of those asked believe Jeremy Corbyn's party has a problem with anti-Jewish abuse.
That represents a sharp rise on 34% who said the same last year.
In a personal blow for the Labour leader, just 22% said they believed his claim of having an "absolute determination" to stamp out anti-semitism - without almost half (48%) disagreeing with that statement.
Meanwhile 55% of respondents agreed with the statement that Mr Corbyn's "failure to tackle anti-semitism within his own party shows he is unfit to be prime minister".
But more than half (52%) of those surveyed who voted for Labour in 2017 agreed that the party leader is the target of "a concerted smear campaign by his political opponents to try to discredit him over anti-semitism".
Responding to the poll, Labour said it was focused on "rebuilding trust" with the Jewish community.
A party spokesperson said: "The Labour Party is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.
"We are taking action against antisemitism, standing in solidarity with Jewish communities, and rebuilding trust.
"Labour has always rejected claims that concerns about antisemitism are smears and ComRes' suggestion to the contrary is untrue."
ComRes spoke to spoke to 1,047 adults earlier this week for the poll, the findings of which Labour MP Wes Streeting said were: "Unsurprising. Accurate. Self-inflicted."
Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, meanwhile urged Mr Corbyn to take "meaningful action now" to address the problem.
He told the Jewish News: “We’ve always argued that tackling its institutional crisis of antisemitism is a moral imperative for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party – but this polling shows that it should be a political priority for them too.
"The fact that more than half of those polled, and a third of Labour voters thought that his handling of anti-Jewish racism made the Leader of the Labour Party – the party which prizes it’s anti-fascist credentials – unfit to lead the country should make him and those around him pause for thought.”
Last month JLM - which has been formally affiliated to Labour since 1920 - passed a motion branding Jeremy Corbyn "unfit to be Prime Minister" over his handling of anti-semitism complaints in the party.
Labour's London mayor Sadiq Khan and former prime minister Gordon Brown have sinced joined JLM as affiliate members in a bid to show their support for the group, which stopped short of severing its historic ties with Labour earlier this year.