Balls is a better bet

Anthony WellsHead of European Political and Social Research
January 23, 2011, 4:00 PM GMT+0

Ed Balls is seen as a stronger contender for Chancellor than his predecessor Alan Johnson, finds our poll for the Sunday Times. Balls immediately succeeded Johnson following the latter's resignation on Thursday.

  • 24% of people think that Ed Balls' appointment as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer will strengthen Labour
  • Compared to 16% who think it will weaken them.

Asked whether George Osborne or Ed Balls would make the better Chancellor the two men are equal, with 27% preferring Osborne and 27% preferring Balls. This compares to a slight advantage for Osborne when we asked the same question about Osborne or Alan Johnson a week ago, when Osborne was favoured over Johnson by 25% to 21%.

However, this may reflect as much as lack of confidence in George Osborne as any great confidence in Ed Balls.

  • In a separate question, only 31% of people said they had confidence in Osborne to make the right decisions on running the economy
  • In contrast 43% said they had confidence in Prime Minister David Cameron.
  • Overall 40% of people said they had confidence in the Government's ability to run the economy.

In addition, 52% of people now think the Government is cutting too quickly and risk putting the country back into recession, with only 30% thinking they are right way of getting the economy. This suggests opinion has shifted against the cuts since we asked the same question in October when 38% thought the cuts were right and 46% thought they were too quick and risked a second recession.

See the survey details and full results here