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Confidence in Osborne drops as voters lose faith in the economic recovery

1George Osborne’s ratings as Chancellor have turned negative amid a sharp fall in confidence in the  economy, it was revealed today.
For the first time since the economic recovery began in spring 2013, more people are dissatisfied with his  performance than satisfied, research by Ipsos MORI for the Evening Standard has found.
The setback comes at a time of intensifying rivalry among senior Tories vying to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader.
Allies of Mr Osborne will be heartened that he is streets ahead of Labour rival John McDonnell in the public’s eyes. Asked which of the two would be the best Chancellor, he won by a wide margin of 46 per cent to 29. But they will be worried that his progress towards 10 Downing Street may be endangered by fears the recovery will be derailed by a slowdown in China and instability in the Middle East.
In a dramatic turnaround, the monthly index of economic optimism has plunged for the sixth time in seven months to a low of -19, compared with +26 just before last May’s election.
Only a quarter of Britons think things will improve in the year ahead, while 44 per cent think they will get worse, the most pessimistic result since April 2013.
Gideon Skinner, head of political research for Ipsos MORI, said: “The record levels of economic optimism generated before the election have long gone. But George Osborne is ahead of John McDonnell among nearly every group, other than young people and Labour supporters.”
Four in 10 are satisfied with Mr Osborne’s performance, but 46 per cent are dissatisfied. Mr Osborne seems hugely popular with Tory supporters, three-quarters of whom like the way he is doing his job. But among non-Tories he seems deeply unpopular, with just a quarter backing his performance.
Today’s survey is bad news for Left-winger Mr McDonnell, who scores worse against the Tory than did his Labour predecessor as shadow chancellor, Ed Balls. Labour supporters reckon Mr McDonnell would be best by a big margin of 65-13.
Mr Cameron’s Conservatives are ahead on voting intention, on 39 per cent (-1), with Labour on 33 (+2), the Liberal Democrats on six (-1), and Ukip on 12 (+1).
Leading Tory commentator Tim Montgomerie today announced he had quit the Conservatives and slammed Mr Cameron as having failed to tackle immigration, the EU, inequality and the deficit. Mr Montgomerie, who once worked for Iain Duncan Smith, said Mr Cameron compared poorly against Margaret Thatcher and that the Prime Minister would leave the UK as an “impotent member” of the EU.
He said in his Times column: “And that defining mission to eliminate the deficit? The Treasury is still borrowing  £75 billion a year — a burden on the next generation that would once have shocked and shamed us, and still should.”