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Tory members lose faith in the Chancellor and Jeremy Hunt --- but two Osborne-ites, Hammond and Greening, continue to impress

By Tim Montgomerie
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It was as long ago as end-December that we last asked Tory members to say whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with members of the Cabinet*. Since then there have been some big political developments.

The three most notable changes are big drops in the approval ratings for the Prime Minister, Chancellor and the Culture Secretary.

  • Jeremy Hunt has fallen furthest and into negative territory. 52% are dissatisfied with his performance and just 40% satisfied.
  • The PM's ratings have also dropped markedly. His net rating has dropped from +64% at the end of last year - shortly after he had vetoed the EU Treaty - to +30% today. 65% of Tory members are satisfied with David Cameron's performance and 35% are dissatisfied.
  • Perhaps the most striking change, however, is the drop in approval for George Osborne. His ney satisfaction rating is now just +5%. 52% are satisfied with his performance and 47% are dissatisfied. Of the satisfied just 4% are very satisfied and 48% are quite satisfied. Of the dissatisfied 20% are very dissatisfied and 27% quite satisfied.

Screen Shot 2012-05-19 at 08.20.18

I remain convinced that George Osborne is best placed to turn things round - not just for himself but also the Government. The Budget was not well handled but he remains one of the Government's most able ministers. All reports from trusted sources say he has a very good grip on the Treasury. He remains very capable of first deciding upon and then executing a change of course. If anyone can identify and then deliver the gear change that this Coalition needs it is him. He has lost a lot of admirers in the last two months but those who know him best remain very loyal and are confident that he can recover. Part of that recovery must mean the appointment of a big beast as Party Chairman. George Osborne cannot be Chancellor, General Election strategist, day-to-day communications manager and Number 10's effective chief executive. It's economic war-time and we can't have a Chancellor doing peace-time hours.

If Osborne was ever replaced as Chancellor a good bet might be Philip Hammond. He's now up to 4th spot in the Cabinet league table. The poll was completed before last weekend's interventions on gay marriage and Lords reform by the Defence Secretary and also before the MoD U-turn on the jump jet order which Tory MPs think he handled very expertly.

220px-JustinegreeninghiJustine Greening has overtaken Theresa May as the best-placed woman in the Cabinet, albeit only very narrowly. The Transport Secretary - when she isn't "remoding" - is emerging as one of the Government's best communicators. Last week she was tipped to replace Sayeeda Warsi at CCHQ. Believe it or not, while others have fought and held marginal seats, Ms Greening is the only Tory member of the Cabinet to win a seat from the opposition.

It is also notable that half of the Cabinet from Cheryl Gillan downwards have either very low or negative satisfaction ratings.


(End December ratings in brackets)

  1. Iain Duncan Smith +84 (+87)
  2. Michael Gove +82 (+84)
  3. William Hague +66 (+61)
  4. Philip Hammond +62 (+55)
  5. Eric Pickles +61 (+63)
  6. Sir George Young +50 (+52)
  7. Owen Paterson +40 (+48)
  8. Justine Greening +38 (+32)
  9. Theresa May +36 (+40)
  10. Lord Strathclyde +35 (+31)
  11. David Cameron +30 (+64)
  12. David Willetts +30 (+27)
  13. Andrew Lansley +28 (+24)
  14. Danny Alexander +28 (+44)
  15. Cheryl Gillan +11 (+10)
  16. Francis Maude +10 (+30)
  17. Patrick McCloughlin +10 (+4)
  18. Caroline Spelman +10 (+5)
  19. Oliver Letwin +8 (+10)
  20. Michael Moore +8 (+5)
  21. George Osborne +5 (+45)
  22. Ed Davey +4 (-)
  23. Andrew Mitchell +4 (-1)
  24. Jeremy Hunt -12 (+44)
  25. Sayeeda Warsi -14 (-19)
  26. Ken Clarke -28 (-32)
  27. Nick Clegg -44 (-52)
  28. Vince Cable -56 (-71)

Screen Shot 2012-05-19 at 08.21.32

Boris, btw, is the Tory that members are most satisfied with. 95% are satisfied with London's Mayor and just 4% dissatisfied.


* In March members were, however, asked to rate the three most effective Cabinet ministers. The Chancellor was still polling well then.


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