Polling shows public trust Balls over “Toxic” Osborne on economy

14th March, 2013 1:20 pm

Is Ed Balls a liability for Labour? Do people prefer Osborne to the shadow chancellor on the economy? Reporting on their latest poll, the Evening Standard says:

“Researchers gave half the poll sample a summary of the Coalition’s argument that deficit-reduction should be the priority, without any mention of Mr Osborne’s name. They were also given a summary of Labour’s arguments for higher spending on growth measures and asked to choose between them.

The other half of the sample were shown identical summaries, but this time preceded by the words “George Osborne argues that … or “Ed Balls argues that…”

Adding the names of the politicians made a dramatic difference to the way people responded. When Osborne and Balls were not mentioned, voters backed the austerity policies by 52 per cent to 41 — an 11-point lead for the Coalition.

But when Mr Osborne and Mr Balls were identified as the authors, support for the Coalition policy fell to 37 per cent, and support for Labour’s policy jumped to 53 per cent — some 16 points ahead.”

So, now you know…(taps foot impatiently waiting for response from Anthony Seldon)

Whilst it’s still worrying to see failed austerity gaining so much support – it isn’t because people trust George Osborne.

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  • I like and admire Ed Balls and think he’d have done a better job as party leader – Ed Miliband has seemed unsure of where he wants to go at times and I doubt that would have been a problem for the party under a Balls’ leadership. His single-mindedness, tunnel vision and ruthlessness are good qualities in a leader that I fear the current one lacks. That said, we have a government that is running the economy into the ground like Herbert Hoover on steroids. And yet Labour’s lead on the economy is … well we’re not even sure if there is a lead. That’s pretty damning. Labour should be streets ahead on the number one issue of the day and Balls is the man directing Labour’s economic strategy. So I’m not sure you need to be so smug about Anthony Seldon, Mark Ferguson.

    • Except this polling seems quite clear, that the public much prefer Ed balls over Osborne – despite them not liking the policy….

      • Not really, people didn’t “like” Margaret Thatcher. But they trusted her as the right person to deliver the strong medicine they felt the country needed. I fear that’s the case with the Tories now – if (and I concede with this lot it is a big if) the recovery starts to gain traction I think the smart money is on them winning the next election.

        • Cameron may not even need a recovery to swing it:

          Chilcot will report, reminding everyone of New Labour’s betrayal of UK armed services.
          Farage bottled it by not standing at Eastleigh and may opt for a deal with Cameron (who won’t need much persuading) in return for an uncontested seat and cabinet position.
          The EU crisis will continue and Ed has said he doesn’t want the electorate to have a say in the matter.
          Labour, uninspiringly, are not able to fully oppose disastrous Tory policies because they did the same, in effect breaking the ice, when they were in office and many of the culprits are still on Labour’s front bench.

          The list goes on and on.

        • Cameron may not even need a recovery to swing it:

          Chilcot will report, reminding everyone of New Labour’s betrayal of UK armed services.
          Farage bottled it by not standing at Eastleigh and may opt for a deal with Cameron (who won’t need much persuading) in return for an uncontested seat and cabinet position.
          The EU crisis will continue and Ed has said he doesn’t want the electorate to have a say in the matter.
          Labour, uninspiringly, are not able to fully oppose disastrous Tory policies because they did the same, in effect breaking the ice, when they were in office and many of the culprits are still on Labour’s front bench.

          The list goes on and on.

          • rekrab

            @Dave, bang on the nose Dave, it’s the underlying plan that’s probably been around for some time.We only have to witness the moves on the commonwealth charter being implemented.The one nation conservatism agenda is all to real and labour have been complacent?/ helpful? in the 1N idea.

          • Boldee

            I find all this talk of Ex-Labour stalwarts quite interesting, I am one of them and also an ex-smoker but unlike most ex-smokers I don’t attack those that continue to smoke. All this rubbish about you just don’t want to listen to the truth, its a matter of opinion and if one is arrogant enough to believe your point of view is always the correct one then you have no place in a mature discussion. Perhaps becoming a journalist for a News International publications would be mores suitable.

          • postageincluded

            When we get to May 2015 the electorate will vote the way they usually do, on bread-and-butter issues rather than fluff like Chilcot or the EU. But at least those ideas veer somewhere near sense. The idea that Cameron would offer Nigel Farage a place in cabinet is so utterly ridiculous it’s obvious that your just scraping away at the bottom of your mental barrel.

          • We may disagree but there’s no need for unpleasantness.

            In politics one has to learn the art of comprise, not necessarily by ignoring divergences but by working around them in order to reach a larger, mutually beneficial target. One might even say that the most renowned democratic leaders are those who have best practiced comprise, even if it appears otherwise (thinking of Kennedy).

            Perhaps we could practice the same – after all, which of the major parties are capable of saving the NHS?

            And, in the same way though for a different objective, Cameron and Farage may strike a deal, particularly if it saves the bacon of both.

          • postageincluded

            I’m all in favour of compromise, Dave, and in favour of motherhood and apple pie too. I’m more in favour of a majority Labour government that doesn’t need to make any compromises, other than internally. Are you in favour of that too?

            Farage won’t get any sort of deal with Cameron pre-election, even if he wanted to which he doesn’t, he won’t win a seat in 2015, and wouldn’t make a deal with Cameron if he did. Not in the UK parliament anyway, perhaps in Cloud-Cuckoo Land.

          • “and in favour of apple pie too.”

            Well, now you’re going unashamedly over the top.

            Like it or not Labour will be required to make many compromises if it is to achieve a majority – they’ll have to win the votes of people like myself, for starters. I’m feeling particularly elated by the eruption of enthusiasm for independent candidates in Bristol* – and there are moves afoot for a similar initiative in my area.

            If Labour is to get anywhere it won’t be through getting a lot of London based graduates to walk around wearing business suits, carrying what used to be called executive attache cases** and hankering after a scallops and celeriac purée offensive around the City of London***. You’ll have to start connecting directly and creatively with the most pressing concerns of the electorate – and that doesn’t mean hiring a media professional to tell you what ‘they’ think.

            Labour is out of touch. And sadly, for well-meaning people who want to see this country improved, Labour is no longer the obvious vehicle of choice.

            * http://www.ifbristol.org.uk/

            ** http://mhairi4eastville.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/silly.jpg?w=470

            *** http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2012/02/06/a-new-%E2%80%98prawn-cocktail%E2%80%99-offensive/

          • reformist lickspittle

            You really are the most mindblowingly tedious poster on here, aren’t you??

          • postageincluded

            That’s right, Dave, I eat celeriac and scallops, wear a suit and carry an attache case. Just let it all out.

            Your answer to my question, though you weren’t honest enough to say it directly, was “No, I don’t want to see a majority Labour government except on my own terms. That isn’t the way it works, I’m afraid. You may consider yourself typical. You’re not. There is no evidence that Ed Balls is a drag on the Labout vote, or that Labour would gain by trying specifically to convert you and yours. get used to it.

          • It’s what’s in the tin that matters to me, not the label on it.

            Well, we’ve found at least one point of agreement – I’m not typical, nor is anyone else for that matter.

            Also, possibly more common ground: I admired your foreign secretary chap, Douglas Alexander, when he argued, on the radio this morning, against arming the jihadist-heavy Syrian opposition – that’s the sort of sense Labour should talk more often. Though it won’t go down too well with Labour’s be-suited, attache case carrying, scallops and celeriac purée proffering careerists.

          • aracataca

            I note that your reference here is that noble purveyor of completely unbiased and objective truth…………. er, The Daily Mail.
            Perhaps postage is right you are scraping the barrel?

          • Hugh

            Yes, it’s a pity the left wing papers are too crap to properly hold the powerful to account isn’t it?

          • Hugh

            The Independent’s readership have delivered their verdict on my comment.

          • Hugh

            And the New Statesman’s too.

          • That’s right, retreat up your ivory tower and cut yourself off from the thick press (sometimes literally) of human life – you know it makes sense.

            But seriously, I would’ve included another link but the best one costs (ft.com) and may not be accessible to all.

            And anyway, don’t dishonour yourself with such a cheap shot – you really could do better if you tried.

          • aracataca

            I’m feeling particularly elated by the eruption of enthusiasm for independent candidates in Bristol* …………….except of course that he was a Fib Dem masquerading as an ‘independent’.

          • You should see the calibre of the candidates putting themselves forward (check the website link). The problem for you is why don’t these good people want to be Labour candidates?!

          • rekrab

            Does Farage differ from many right-wing Tory MP’s? you do yourself a great disservice if your naive enough to doubt the one nation conservative agenda.

          • AlanGiles

            Reading this:


            I suspect Schapps-Green and other right wingers like Liam Fox would prefer a coalition with UKIP to one with the LibDems

          • rekrab

            Morning Alan, Europe has already said that it’s very unlikely that Cameron’s demands for change will be met, given UKIP’s main policy is about withdrawing from Europe and Cameron’s depending in/out referendum the 2015 G.E. looks set to be centred around that referendum, UKIP and Tory MEP’s will have more in common than they have apart and there’s no Doubt W.H. the foreign secretary has more belief in the commonwealth than Europe. Farage and Hannan will be dancing on the street together come 2015.

          • postageincluded

            Even if I accepted that Farage and his sympathisers in the Tory party consititute some sort of One Nation agenda (which I don’t) they are still two parties. Unless there is a Tory-UKIP Alliance in 2015 the similarity of their degenerative symptoms doesn’t threaten us. Did the founding of the SDP 32 years ago to mass popular acclaim threaten Thatcher? No. The opposite in fact. She saw it as an opportunity to purge the “wets” and head further to the right without any hope of reprisal from a divided opposition.

            Before there can be an Tory UKIP Alliance (rather than just a Dalliance) a lot of unlikely events have to happen; the long-shot of a Tory leadership challenge before the election, the long-shot of Cameron being deposed, the long-shot of the election to the Tory leadership of someone at least as barking as Liam Fox. And if all that happened would the Cameroons, the Modernisers, the Realists and the Europhile factions of the Party be able to put it all behind them and fight the election in 2015 with any conviction? I think that’s the longest shot of all.

            All of these things are, of course, not impossible, but it’s not naive to say that this is an unllikely scenario, and that it would be a fundamental error to treat it otherwise. The main chance should remain the main line.

          • AlanGiles

            With respect, it is not the Conservatives or UKIP that keep going on about “one nation” – that is the latest Labour fancy.

            I suspect that, just as if Labour were enter into coalition with the LibDems if there was a stalemate election, Clegg would have to be replaced as leader as one of the conditions, Farage and co would insist on a replacement for Cameron – and given that Cameron isn’t too popular with a great number of all sorts and conditions in his own party, I can see a situation where they might “rally round” like they did with Michael Howard in 2003, when the idiotic Duncan-Smith drove them to desperation.

          • postageincluded

            With greatest respect, Alan, I was responding to Rekrab’s claims about “One Nation Toryism”. I agree with you, it doesn’t exist. And UKIP would certainly not be part of it if it did. “National Toryism” maybe.

            For Farage to be able to insist on deposing Cameron following an election:
            a) Farage would have to win more than a handful seats.- as far as I can see the probability of him winning even one is pretty low.
            b) Cameron would at least have to hold onto his 2010 seats – I’d say this is unlikely, if not as hopelessly improbably as (a).
            Another Con-Lib Coalition is more likely in a hung parliament. The Tories will swallow it if they have to.

            I agree that George “IDS” Smith is idiotic. His replacement Michael “something of the night” Howard was only a success in comparison. I hope to see many Tory leaders of their quality in the future.

          • rekrab

            The SDP would merge with the liberals forming the lib/dems, trident and FPTP are still in place, while Europe and the green agenda are being painfully killed.

            Most people accept that UKIP are the old tories and most tories are hell bent on tax cuts and an out of Europe agenda.

            Seems to me and most voters believe 1N conservative rule has been in place for the last 30 years.Thatcher, Major, Blair all contributed to the privatised filthy rich schemes.

            It is with a sense of regret that I accuse you of naivety but politics isn’t and hasn’t been moving leftwards for decades and if Cameron gives the nod to campaign against Europe and opt out completely, UKIP will be side by side with the tories.

          • postageincluded

            As you have said yourself, FPTP is still in place. That is why Farage and crew will win no seats in 2015 but may well lose Cameron a few, as they did in Eastleigh. For that reason Cameron is obliged to fudge on Europe by offering a referendum. Like much else that he does this is not his own idea but a trick he borrowed from Harold Wilson. Much good may it do him. After all the tricks he borrowed from Blair didn’t give him a landslide and the tricks he borrowed from Thatcher haven’t brought him an economic recovery.

            The rest of your post is just ranting or fantasy.

          • rekrab

            Wow! are you truly saying we’ve had some good leftward policies implemented since 1979 to date? Wilson didn’t commit troops to the Vietnam war and by heck your surely blinkered if you think Blair was a continuation of Atlee.

            Wake up! 1N conservatism has ruled supreme for decades and the once proud NHS is being privatised which all started under Blair’s watch.I tell you this, the tories nod their heads and labour just wags the tail. WAKE UP!

          • postageincluded

            I’m too old to fall for the straw-man trick, I’m afraid, but not yet old enough to be confused by a change of subject.

            Your idea that UKIP are “one Nation Tories” is still bizarrely wrong. And you fantasy that UKIP and the Tories are going to form an alliance before 2015 is still a fantasy.

          • rekrab

            Sorry postageincluded! but isn’t it the reason why we lost the 2010 G.E, are core voters no longer believed that labour represented them. (it was to close to the tories)

            I think some high televised political person made a comment today and it went like this, every time a tory has a couple of pints they turn into UKIP mode.

          • postageincluded

            Surely there are lots of reasons why Labour lost in 2015, but I would say that the core voters were the ones who voted Labour, not the ones who left.

            The average Tory Party member may be just a couple of pints (or G&Ts) away from UKIP, but I’m not sure that’s true of all Tory voters, actual or potential. That’s Cameron’s big problem, and the real reason behind his original hoodie-hugging and recent gay marriage manoeuvre.

          • aracataca

            ‘We may disagree but there’s no need for unpleasantness’……… not everyone can reach the giddy heights of tolerance, understanding and generosity of spirit exhibited by you.

          • Thanks mate, it’s nice when we fall into agreement.

          • aracataca

            When are we going to get our first hospital cleaner or porter as a PPC for the NHA?

          • I’m looking forward to that also. I’ve been told that NHAP is the fastest growing political party in the UK (and btw, it wasn’t Mystic Meg’s less successful twin brother who told me).

          • I think you write a lot of rubbish.

          • You only say that because it’s what you don’t want to read.

            The other day, in conversation with another ex-Labour stalwart (I was once one), I realised that, despite all the pressing political problems, I have yet to find a single person (excluding LP members) who expresses enthusiasm for the return of a Labour government. Think about it.

          • AlanGiles

            Very true, Dave. People like P.I. would do well to remember two things.

            One: many people (I am NOT one) don’t regard the EU as “fluff” and if we are to believe UKIPs rise Labour shouldn’t be too complacent over that, since UKIP could take votes from them as well.

            Two: we have one of the most incompetent, inept, dishonest, shambling governments this country has ever seen and yet there is no suggestion that the public are going to give Miliband a landslide.

            I genuinely believe (however much the tribalists in denial vote us down) that amongst the general public, there is a perception that Labour 2012 is just a watered down version of the Coalition. This perception being based on the fact Miliband is always banging on about what he is against, rather than what he is for. “Too far too fast” says nothing really, the same disastarous policies but in slow motion, perhaps.. It’s a wheeze to see the portly shadow chancellor playing about in Greggs because it is tabloid friendly – they show far less backbone taking to task people like Philip Hammond who wants to see welfare decimated even further to pay for more defence.

            One learned LL know-it-all the other day didn’t even know that Hammond was the current defence minister, decscribing him as a member of the “NUM” and of no consequence. (RA being the initials of this person).

            It is very liberating not to be involved in party politics now – you see with a much clearer eye, and for any reasonable and unbiased person it is easy to see that there are just as many phoney, oily, self-interested politicians sporting red rossettes as there are orange and blue ones. Labour gets in in 2015, and they will still be blaming benefit claimants and immigrants for our woes, and finding ways to penalise them, and demean them, just as they did until 2010. They will still be finding ways to stuff their own pockets, while telling the proles to “play by the rules” and “do the right thing”

            For some strange reason, despite all the evidence – despite Freud, despite the expenses scandal, despite Burnham’s interest in NHS competition, the Labour groupies still think Labour is pure and only do these things because they want to do good and go to heaven. Yesterday we had David Miliband banging on about “making a difference”. Apart from being a 1997 catchphrase, surely by now even the most blinkered Labourite knows that the main things DM wants to make a difference to are his massive ego and massive bank account – both in an upward direction.

            Now – let’s wait for the down votes and the peevish castigations!

          • aracataca

            Labour gets in in 2015, and they will still be blaming benefit claimants and immigrants for our woes, and finding ways to penalise them, and demean them, just as they did until 2010. They will still be finding ways to stuff their own pockets, while telling the proles to “play by the rules” and “do the right thing”

            It’s that word ‘will’ again. Astonishing knowledge of the future. When you see Meg next, can you ask her if my numbers are going to come up in the lottery?

          • AlanGiles

            We know you are pathetic Bill. Your use of the “Meg” joke yet again (four times this week isn’t it?) merely re-enforces the point.

            It is quite obvious Labour are not going to depart very far from their previous antics on welfare – the fact that Byrne and Miliband are so mute rather suggests it, but of course, their is none so blind as those who don’t wish to see – which in this case is the lickspittle party loyalists.

          • aracataca

            Not sure how calling people lickspittles helps- please explain.

        • AlanGiles

          At the risk of collecting yet more “down” votes from the tribalists, I have to suggest that this poll flatters to deceive


          Perhaps it is because Osborne is so terrible at his job that Balls appears “better”, in the same way that the leadership of Cameron and Clegg is so poor, and amateurish that it appears to make Miliband “better”

          Interestingly, if you read the whole of the survey Cameron and Miliband personally are only 1 point apart from each other.

        • postageincluded

          That’s Tory mythology. I knew a lot of Tories in the 80s who not only didn’t like or trust Thatcher but also didn’t approve of much that she was doing,. They just couldn’t see who else there was to vote for.

          The truth of the matter is that Labour failed due to internal conflict, the division on the left caused by the alignment of the Steel Liberal party with Labour during the 70s, and by the defection of the SDP in the 80s. Thatcher was lucky, and she made the most of it.

        • Dave Postles

          If there is any ‘recovery’, the question which should be posed is: at whose expense – who paid the price for it?

  • Interesting article. Trolls will be out to get you, though!

  • postageincluded

    Easy to get over-excited about a rather small poll, Mark, but lets say the results don’t show any support for the current meme about Ed Balls being a drag on Labour’s performance.

    Let’s be plain about it. The left of the party want rid of Balls because he won’t promise to turn back the clock and restore every coalition spending cut. The right of the party want rid of him because he won’t say he’ll match every coalition spending cut. The Tories want rid of him because he keeps showing them up and hope that they can cause conflict between the Labour factions by bad-mouthing him. He’s not got many friends, but he’s preferable to his enemies by a country mile.

    • JoeDM

      But in my copy of The Times this morning it reports a YouGov poll with the completely opposite result – the Tories still ahead on economic competence.

      Just goes to show…… etc

      • Dave Postles

        I’d like to say that you’re still in Murdoch’s pocket, but apparently he is in yours (but in a different sense).

      • postageincluded

        That doesn’t invalidate my point, which had nothing to do with what the electorate think about Labour v. Tory economic competence.

        If you’re not interested in responding to what I said but just want to make a generalised point about something else then I would humbly suggest that your post belongs elsewhere.

  • LordElpus

    Don’t you always dislike the guy who gives out the bad news . . . even if you agree with him?

  • Chilbaldi

    Are Ed Balls and his team briefing Labour List on a daily basis now? You’ll have to change the name to Balls List Mark.

    • postageincluded

      Don’t tempt him or we might end up with “Big Clanking Balls List”.

      (Sorry, Mark, Couldn’t resist that one.)

  • Monkey_Bach

    What’s this all about Mr. Balls?

    According to the Guardian the Labour Party might well be on the verge of making a historic mistake of its own. It seems that Labour will actually be voting to SUPPORT Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP emergency legislation to PREVENT benefit claimants UNLAWFULLY stripped of benefits for legitimately and legally refusing to participate on flaky workfare schemes, from reclaiming monies UNLAWFULLY denied to them by the DWP, a very serious situation indeed leaving many of the affected with no income whatsoever for as long as six months.

    Let me just write that out again (because I can hardly believe the story myself): The Guardian newspaper claims that the Labour Party, despite opposing the the benefit cap and bedroom tax et al, WILL be voting for a piece of retrospective, disgraceful, and shabby legislation, introduced by that delusional faker IAIN DUNCAN SMITH, expressly to prevent benefit claimant from being reimbursed in respect to money UNLAWFULLY denied to them by the DWP.

    If this is true it is a very sad day for Labour and for British justice. It also make you wonder just what Labour might have in store for benefit claimants if the Party is ever returned to office if this is its attitude towards the innocent now.



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