Osborne: The people’s damning verdict

The Chancellor's star has crashed after his Budget fiasco, according to an opinion poll for The IoS. Voters say he is too posh, and his tough economic policies are failing. Labour now has a 10-point lead

George Osborne's ambitions to lead Britain out of recession – and one day to become Prime Minister – have been rocked by new evidence showing that voters think he is too posh, too arrogant and out of touch with the public.

As the Chancellor attempts to rebuild his reputation following a series of catastrophic U-turns on his 2012 Budget, a devastating poll for The Independent on Sunday has revealed a deep crisis of confidence over his abilities at the most critical moment in his political career.

The poll gives Labour a 10-point lead over the Conservatives – one more than a similar IoS survey last month – and on course to win a 110-seat majority at the next general election.

But the full findings lay bare public concerns about Mr Osborne's "aloof" image, as well as his economic competence, with only one in four people believing that he is leading the country in the right direction.

They inevitably raise questions over his chances of becoming the next Tory leader.

The poll, carried out by ComRes last week, found that 55 per cent of people – including more than a third of those who voted Tory in 2010 – agreed that the Chancellor was "too posh to understand the financial pressures on ordinary people".

Almost six out of 10 said they believed Mr Osborne, a millionaire, was "out of touch with the public". Just over half of the 2,014 people interviewed agreed that the Chancellor "comes across as arrogant". The wounding verdict underlines the accusation, from Tory MP Nadine Dorries, that Mr Osborne and David Cameron were "two arrogant posh boys who don't know the price of milk ... who show no remorse, no contrition and no passion to want to understand the lives of others – and that is their real crime".

In a damning judgement on Mr Osborne's economic competence, almost half of those surveyed believed he had made too many mistakes to be taken seriously. Less than a third saw him as "an able politician", and barely a quarter agreed that he was "doing a good job in difficult times".

Mr Osborne is renowned within the Tory party as a gifted strategist and the tactical brain behind election campaigns, including Mr Cameron's successful bid for the leadership in 2005. He also managed to avoid trouble in the past, earning himself the nickname "the submarine" – sinking beneath the surface when trouble breaks out.

But the Chancellor's credibility has suffered a battering in recent months, amid escalating protests from left and right over his insistence that deep spending cuts are the best way to rescue the UK from double-dip recession. The shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, is now far ahead in the popularity vote when interviewees are asked who they would prefer to see in charge of the UK economy.

Mr Osborne has resisted calls for a "Plan B" that would stimulate economic growth, but last week announced plans to lend high-street banks £140m, on condition that they pass it on directly to small businesses and homeowners.

Mr Osborne has also endured criticism as his latest Budget unravelled in the face of widespread protests. The Treasury has been forced into U-turns

on proposals including plans for a "pasty tax", a limit on tax relief on large charitable donations and a VAT rise on static holiday caravans. His warning that the euro crisis could "kill off" a British recovery has provoked disapproval among some Tory MPs, but his handling of the economy now threatens to lose the party some of its most influential supporters.

The Daily Mail columnist Simon Heffer claimed yesterday that Mr Cameron should consider sacking his Chancellor. In a piece entitled "My plan B? Replace bankrupt Osborne", he said: "The Chancellor's stubborn refusal to change course, and to accept any responsibility for our stagnation, inevitably raise questions about his suitability for his post."

Labour claimed last night that the Government has organised a global investment conference in London immediately after the second quarter's growth figures are published. Labour's Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie said the Government hoped the event would distract attention from figures which could confirm that Britain is still in double-dip recession.

He added: "David Cameron and George Osborne shouldn't have to wait for an economic crisis summit to find out that their policies have failed."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick