Labour's Ed Balls has overtaken Chancellor George Osborne as the voters' choice as best person to run the economy, according to a new poll.
Mr Osborne's rating as "most capable chancellor" slumped in the Ipsos Mori survey to 29 per cent, from 36 per cent before his much-criticised Budget in March.
Meanwhile, the monthly political monitor showed confidence in Mr Balls rising two points to 37 per cent over the same period.
It is the first time the shadow chancellor has outpolled Mr Osborne in a survey for the company since the general election, and will be taken by Labour's high command as a sign that the party is winning back its reputation for economic credibility.
Almost half (47 per cent) of those questioned said they did not like Mr Osborne, compared to around a third (36 per cent) who did like him.
More than half (54 per cent) said they did not like the Chancellor's policies, while three in 10 (29 per cent) said they did like his policies.
Half (50 per cent) said they thought the British economy would get worse in the next 12 months compared to 18 per cent who thought it would improve.
But Ipsos Mori's head of political research, Gideon Skinner, said that the falling confidence in Mr Osborne did not necessarily translate into an increase in support for Mr Balls.
Mr Skinner said: "As economic pessimism is on the up, George Osborne's reputation is suffering.
"But the biggest rise is among those who think neither of the main parties has the answer."
The poll gave Labour a nine-point lead over the Conservatives, with 40 per cent of those questioned saying they would vote for Ed Miliband's party in a general election (down three points since May), against 31 per cent (down two) for Tories and 10 per cent (up one) for Liberal Democrats.
Some 34 per cent were satisfied with the way David Cameron was doing his job as Prime Minister, against 58 per cent who were dissatisfied.
Mr Miliband's satisfaction rating was at 35 per cent, with 48 per cent dissatisfied.
And 26 per cent said they were satisfied with Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, compared to 63 per cent who were dissatisfied.
:: Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,006 adults across Britain between May 12 and 14.