Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Most of the reaction to a Budget which has been criticised by the Institute for Fiscal Studies for benefiting the rich over the poor, has surrounded the sugar tax on fizzy drinks.

George Osborne must surely be pleased that most headlines on Thursday morning ran on the drinks levy, as opposed to the £55bn black hole in public finances.

As we await the first polls which describe public reception to the Budget, let's take a look at the mood building up to it.

It's reading that should scare the life out of a Cabinet currently divided over the upcoming EU referendum and acutely aware that someone has to be the one to blow a starters' whistle in the leadership race.

1. The approval ratings are sliding

2. The public think they're more divided than Labour

3. One poll put Labour level with the Tories

4. Public opinion on their spending cuts has turned, people think they're bad...

"Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government's deficit, do you think this is…"'

5. ...and fewer people than ever think they're fair

"Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government's deficit, do you think this is being done..."'

6. In fact, now more people than ever think the economy is performing poorly

7. It's also clear who they blame for that

8. And the "This is the mess we inherited" game isn't as persuasive any more

9. In fact, pre-budget, Osborne's ratings decline is horrifying reading for the would-be PM

Things look rosy going forward, don't they?

We have to wait and see how the post-Budget polls look, but if trends continue and people are concerned about the £55bn black hole in public finances, alongside an economy the Chancellor admitted was "materially weaker" than four months ago, who knows what can happen.

An EU referendum and leadership battle beckons.

Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
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