Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Polls' Double Blow for Duncan Smith

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Polls' Double Blow for Duncan Smith

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER KELLNER

IAIN DUNCAN SMITH today faces a double whammy, as new polling evidence shows he has little support among two groups whose respect he needs if he were ever to be a serious challenger for prime minister.

According to the surveys both conducted for the Evening Standard: Only 30 per cent of London executives see him as business-friendly - a figure that leaves him trailing behind Kenneth Clarke, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Only 12 per cent of Britain's opinion-formers think that he would make a good prime minister The survey of 317 London executives was conducted as part of our Business Monitor series in conjunction with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The opinion-former survey was conducted by Opinion Leader Research among 100 financiers, business leaders, media executives, Whitehall mandarins and thinktank directors. Both are groups whose approval would be an enormous asset to any Conservative leader seeking to revive his party.

However, the signs are Mr Duncan Smith will have vast ground to make up if, as is widely expected, he emerges victorious from the Tory leadership contest when the result is announced next week.

In the survey of London executives, respondents were asked how business-friendly they thought each of four leading politicians were. Mr Clarke came top, with 60 per cent regarding him as "very friendly" (16 per cent) or "fairly friendly" (44 per cent). Only five per cent regarded him as very or fairly unfriendly.

The Prime Minister was also seen as business-friendly by 60 per cent, but a larger minority, 14 per cent, considered him unfriendly. Mr Blair emerged ahead of his Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is regarded as business-friendly by 48 per cent and unfriendly by 24 per cent. Mr Duncan Smith's friendlinessrating was only 30 per cent. He can take some comfort from the fact that only 11 per cent say he is unfriendly towards business. …

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