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No wonder he's the Tories' secret weapon; Voters' confidence in Ed Balls is low and sinking

By Tim Montgomerie
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The overnight YouGov poll for The Sunday Times seems to confirm that Labour's opinion poll lead has sharply narrowed over the summer. It's only one survey but Labour is ahead by just 39% to 38%.

Within the numbers there is more bad news for Ed Miliband and Ed Balls on the issue likely to dominate this parliament - the question of economic competence.

  • Only 28% of voters have a lot of confidence in Ed Miliband's ability to manage the economy. 60% do not. A net negative rating of -32%.
  • David Cameron also has a net negative rating but a much smaller one. 41% have confidence in the PM on the economy and 51% do not. A net rating of -10%.
  • Ed Balls' ratings are worst of all at -36% and Osborne's are -26%. Interestingly Ed Balls' ratings have fallen sharply since earlier in the year. In February Balls' rating was -23%, now it's -36%.

Screen shot 2011-09-04 at 14.36.58The Shadow Chancellor is seen by Tory HQ as the weakest link in a weak team. Sayeeda Warsi has already pounced on Alistair Darling's criticisms of the man Ed Miliband has appointed as his Shadow Chancellor. In yesterday's Daily Mail Stephen Glover referred to Mr Balls as the Tories' secret weapon. It's hard to disagree with that. The most important thing Labour needs to do in opposition is to restore the idea that it can be responsible with taxpayers' money. Instead it now opposes every single measure proposed by the Coalition to restore financial order. Ed Balls wants to increase debt in the middle of a debt crisis.  It's the economics of the madhouse.