Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presented this year’s budget with higher approval ratings than he had last year. Research from YouGov shows that the percentage of people who think he’s doing a good job has risen by 11 points since last March.
He still has some work to do, however, as more people still think he’s doing a bad job than a good one, but the deficit in his approval ratings has narrowed significantly. In March last year he had a negative approval rating of 28 percent; this year it is just 6 percent.
According to the research, the most dramatic improvement in Mr Osborne’s approval ratings has been among UKIP supporters (+23 percent), which will no doubt hearten many in the Conservative leadership as they struggle to win back supporters from the Eurosceptic party.
Approval of his performance has risen almost as dramatically among his own party’s supporters (+21 percent), and there have also been slightly more modest improvements from Labour supporters (+6 percent) and Lib Dems (+10 percent).
Perhaps most crucially of all, George Osborne’s lead over Ed Balls in terms of preferred Chancellor has widened. 35 percent of voters now think George Osborne would make the best Chancellor, compared to 22 percent preferring Ed Balls, a gap of 13 points. Last March, Mr Osborne’s lead was less than half that, at 6 points, and at one point last year was just two percent.
Latest GDP figures show the economy grew more than expected over the past year, and last weekend YouGov published research showing that an increasing number of people view the economy as recovering.