LONDON, April 7 — Britons’ trust in their leaders’ ability to steer the country through current economic troubles has fallen to its lowest point since the government announced its spending review in October 2010, according to an opinion poll released yesterday.
Only 31 per cent of those questioned expressed trust in Prime Minister David Cameron’s management of the economy, and only 21 per cent trusted that of Chancellor George Osborne — both record lows, the ComRes survey for ITV News showed.
Trust in Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems, the coalition partner, also hit a new low, of 15 per cent.
The findings chime with a YouGov poll for the Sun newspaper published on Thursday. This showed that only 30 per cent of Britons thought that of the leaders of the three main political parties, Cameron was the best prime minister — the lowest level since he was elected two years ago.
The last two weeks have been particularly damaging for Cameron and his Conservative party, after a key fundraiser was secretly taped offering access to the prime minister for cash, and many in the media interpreted the end of an allowance for pensioners in the March 21 annual budget as a "Granny Tax" levied on pensioners to pay for tax cuts for the rich.
Mixed messages on how to handle a fuel strike triggered panic buying and the embarrassing retraction of advice to motorists to store petrol at home.
Compounding Cameron’s problems is a new row this week over plans to boost the state’s digital surveillance powers and to hold some trials in secret for national security reasons. Members of his own party, the Lib Dems and civil liberty groups have all criticised the proposals.
Both surveys, however, also indicated that opposition leader Ed Miliband had failed to draw much benefit from the low ratings of the coalition leaders.
His trust rating in the ComRes poll rose only 2 per centage points to 18 per cent in the past month, while YouGov found that the number of people who thought he would make the best prime minister stood at 19 per cent.
ComRes interviewed 2,028 people between March 30 and April 1, weighting its data to be demographically representative of all British adults. — Reuters