The public's opinion of the Conservative Party has taken a dramatic dive following the widely derided "omnishambles" Budget in March, an opinion poll published on Tuesday has revealed.
Significantly the Labour Party is now seen as more competent and capable than the Tories for the first time since the formation of the coalition in May 2010.
The Populus poll for The Times (£) contains particularly worrying news for George Osborne, with 45% of those asked saying David Cameron should should sack him as chancellor, compared to just 18% who thought he was doing a good job.
On Monday the IMF revised down its 2012 growth forecast for the UK to 0.2% and warned the risks from the eurozone debt crisis "continue to loom large". Its forecast was reduced from 0.8% just three months ago - more than any other developed nation.
The latest developments will add to the pressure on Osborne, who has faced increased internal Tory mutterings about his job performance recently following a series of embarrassing U-turns on the Budget, criticism of his decision to use the Libor scandal to launch an attack on Ed Balls and concerns that he spends too much time on party political rather than economic matters.
According to Tuesday's poll, the proportion of voters who think of the Conservatives as "competent and capable" fell by 12% from 46% in March to 34% now, leaving them two points behind Labour on 36%.
The prime minister is widely expected to reshuffle his cabinet after the Olympics and perhaps unsurprisingly the three secretaries of state who the public most want to see kicked out of government are the ones who have had to deal with high profile criticisms.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley, who endured months of pressure over his controversial NHS reforms tops the list, with 53% of those asked wanting to see the back of him.
In second place with 48% is culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who admitted he came close to quitting government over his handling of News Corporation's attempt to takeover BSkyB.
And in third place is home secretary Theresa May, with 46% wanting her out of the cabinet. May is currently in the midst of a media storm after the military and police had to step in to take over security for the Olympics after private firm G4S admitted it did not have the manpower to fulfil its contract.
The only cabinet minister to get a positive rating in the survey was foreign secretary William Hague, with 49% saying he did a good job against 20% saying he should be sacked.
It has been suggested that in the highly unlikely event that Cameron moves his close ally Osborne out of the Treasury, it would be Hague who is brought in to replace him.
The figures from Populus also show that when asked whether each party was “united”, the Tories dropped from 42% to 28%, equal with the Lib Dems. Labour was unchanged on 46%.
Populus interviewed 1,501 adults for The Times between July 13 and 15, at the end of the week that saw the media dominated by talk of the internal-Conservative Party split over House of Lords reform that saw 91 Tories vote against the prime minister.
<em>(All images: Press Association)</em>