PoliticsHome had already found a significant slump in support for George Osborne amongst the electorate at large. Despite this website’s efforts, support for the Shadow Chancellor has also plunged among the Tory grassroots. Our latest survey of over 1,600 rank-and-file members found that 49% were satisfied with Mr Osborne but 47% were dissatisfied; a net positive rating of just 2%. That is a huge shift since last month when George Osborne enjoyed a net positive rating of +70%.
Three shadow cabinet ministers have plunged in previous surveys. Andrew Lansley – after appearing to suggest large increases in NHS spending; David Willetts – after the grammar schools row; and Caroline Spelman after concerns about the employment of her nanny. Mr Lansley’s ratings recovered almost immediately; David Willetts has now recovered most of his drop; Mrs Spelman has yet to recover at all. Time will tell if the grassroots have soured against Mr Osborne for a long period or are using this poll to send a warning shot across his bows. Those small number who left comments explaining their low rating for George Osborne were evenly divided in citing the Yachtgate affair and an alleged lacklustre response to the recession.
Also down somewhat – but far less dramatically – is Liam Fox. He was near the very top of the league table but is now 8th – falling below Alan Duncan, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and Eric Pickles over the last year.
The survey contains some good news for Theresa Villiers. The Shadow Transport Secretary’s net rating is up 15%. This may be due to her opposition to a third runway for Heathrow. The policy is certainly supported by Tory members. By 65% to 22% they support the proposal for a high speed rail line instead of a third runway.
Full shadow cabinet rankings are below.