By Tim Montgomerie
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The Autumn Statement has hurt George Osborne's standing with the grassroots. Last month 79% of party members were satisfied with the Chancellor's performance and 18% dissatisfied. This month the percentage of satisfied has dropped to 65% and the dissatisfieds have increased to 30%.
Osborne's reputation won't be helped by a fierce questioning of his commitment to his role in today's Telegraph. Peter Oborne is Mr Osborne's assailant:
"It is not properly appreciated, except among Treasury officials and the Downing Street inner circle, that George Osborne is only a part-time Chancellor of the Exchequer. On the one hand, Osborne is in charge of the national finances at a time of the gravest imaginable economic crisis; on the other, he is equally active and energetic as the chief strategist to the Prime Minister."
"it is completely unprecedented," Oborne continues, "for a serving chancellor to play this kind of double role."
Pasted below are the results of specific questions raised in the ConservativeHome Autumn Statement survey.
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF GEORGE OSBORNE'S CHOICES
- The Chancellor played a difficult hand with skill (Telegraph): Agree 66%, Disagree 24%
- The best thing the Government can do for business is to keep interest rates low (CBI): Agree 71%, Disagree 9%
- George Osborne would have been more radical if it hadn't been for the Liberal Democrats ("Senior Conservative"): Agree 69%, Disagree 19%
- There is nothing that George Osborne can do that will stop shield Britain from the problems of the Eurozone: Agree 55%, Disagree 38%
- George Osborne did the best he could in his Autumn Statement, given the circumstances: Agree 63%, Disagree 30%
- This is a Government that exudes more determination than imagination (Times): Agree 52%, Disagree 30%
- The Chancellor has declared class war: a Tory assault on the public sector and the poor (Polly Toynbee): Agree 6%, Disagree 89%
THINGS MEMBERS LIKED
- The investment in infrastructure is good news for long-term health of UK economy: Agree 76%, Disagree 15%
- It is simply unfair for public sector workers to expect to receive unchanged pensions largely funded by workers whose own retirement provision is not nearly as generous (Express): Agree 93%, Disagree 6%
- It was right that the Chancellor trimmed aid spending by £525 million: Agree 91%, Disagree 6%
THINGS TORY MEMBERS DIDN'T LIKE
- It is wrong that benefits are rising by 5.2% while workers' pay is frozen or falling: Agree 69%, Disagree 23%
THINGS TORY MEMBERS WOULD HAVE PREFERRED
- George Osborne should have cut spending faster and used the money to cut taxes: Agree 66%, Disagree 24%
- I would have preferred the Coalition to have cut taxes rather than spend money on new schemes for housing, jobs and childcare: Agree 57%, Disagree 33%
- The truth is that the Coalition has failed to cut public spending sufficiently (Simon Heffer): Agree 70%, Disagree 22%
- The Chancellor should have abolished the 50p tax band: Agree 53%, Disagree 36%
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
- Britain and Europe will only start to recover when the Euro is broken up: Agree 62%, Disagree 26%
- The forecasts for economic growth announced by the Chancellor are trustworthy: Agree 41%, Disagree 31%
- If the Euro collapses that is the best moment for George Osborne to come forward with radical and emergency reforms: Agree 80%, Disagree 12%
1,340 Tory members all polled yesterday.