By Tim Montgomerie
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The latest YouGov survey for The Sun (PDF) confirms that the public have a very low view of the political class and its ability to lead Britain out of the economic mess.
Taking the bad news for the Tories and the Coalition first…
- 35% think the Coalition is doing a good job of managing the economy. 58% think it's doing a bad job.
- Only 24% think George Osborne is doing a good job. 53% think he's doing a bad job. That's not as bad as in June, however. Only 15% thought he was doing a good job then.
- 25% think the cuts are being made fairly. 61% do not.
- 45% think the economy is still getting worse. 34% think the deterioration has stopped but there are no signs of recovery.
But if the two Eds think that's good news they should look at their own ratings….
- 24% think the economy would be doing better if Labour had been in charge. 38% think it would be doing worse.
- 26% think the Coalition is to blame for the spending cuts but 37% blame the last Labour government. 24% blame both equally.
- By 31% to 25% voters prefer Osborne to Ed Balls as Chancellor.
- 56% think the Coalition's cuts are necessary. 30% do not.
As I blogged yesterday, the politics of the Autumn Statement look good for Cameron and Osborne – at least in the short-run – but voters are probably right to worry about the political class' ability to deal with the deficit. Boris is certainly no bright prospect on the horizon in this narrow but vital regard. His recent opposition to modest cuts in art funding was a worrying sign of a lack of fiscal courage.
In his column for The Telegraph – entitled 'Young lives are being ruined because of Britain's timid Treasury' – Fraser Nelson summarised the situation perfectly:
"Osborne recently observed that Barack Obama was re-elected after years of dismal economic progress, because he succeeded in blaming the other guys for the problems. His implication was that the Conservatives might get away with doing the same in 2015."
"Get away with doing the same". I fear that is indeed the calculation.