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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future