Shadow business secretary Clarke was the first choice of 36 per cent of readers on the City A.M. / PHI Panel, recruited to represent a cross-section of London’s business community.
Osborne came second with 23 per cent of votes, while Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable was a close third on 20 per cent.
Labour performed badly: seven per cent picked current chancellor Alistair Darling, four per cent opted for business secretary Lord Mandelson and just one panelist voted for Ed Balls.
A Tory source said: “The majority of respondents want the Tory team. More than twice as many people want Osborne over Darling and six times more people prefer Osborne to Mandelson. And only one person voted for the man who would be chancellor if Labour won the election – Ed Balls.”
Mandelson said it was unsurprising that Osborne came second, adding “Clarke is a heavyweight who knows his way around – and nobody can say that about Osborne.”
City figures yesterday said Clarke was seen as a “safe pair of hands” at a time of financial instability.
Edward Vandyk, chief of stockbroker Astaire, said: “Clarke inspires confidence because of his experience, age and presentation. You get the impression he is a conviction politician, which isn’t a feeling Osborne inspires.”
But British Bankers’ Association boss Angela Knight said: “What leaps out is that a majority in the City prefer two alternatives from the opposition party.”
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