Poll: Half of Britons want Osborne out

Aug. 28, 2012 at 1:26 AM
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LONDON, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is the least popular British Cabinet minister, a poll released Monday indicated.

Almost half of those surveyed for The Guardian poll said Prime Minister David Cameron should replace Osborne in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle. That includes 39 percent of those who voted Conservative in the 2010 election.

The poll found Osborne has a deficit of 32 percentage points in public perception of his job performance. He has now passed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, head of the Liberal Democratic Party, who has a 26-point deficit.

Only 43 percent of Conservative voters said Osborne is doing a good job, with 44 percent saying the reverse.

Cameron, in a recent interview, said he had no plans to remove Osborne as chancellor before the next election. Osborne is his closest ally in the Cabinet, the Guardian said, and Margaret Thatcher as prime minister set the precedent that chancellors should not be removed midstream.

"Margaret Thatcher did not have to move her chancellor in her first term because she appointed the right person in the first place," a senior party leader told the newspaper. "George Osborne only became shadow chancellor in 2005 because David Cameron turned it down on the grounds that he was too young. The prime minister is five years older than George who got the job at the age of 33. That was ridiculous."

Some Conservatives have suggested switching Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

ICM Research conducted the survey Aug. 24-26, interviewing 1,006 adults by telephone.

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