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Business Leaders Agree a Hung Parliament Will Be Bad for UK Business

The latest independent research from leading business and financial news channel, CNBC, has revealed that more than three quarters (77%) of business leaders agree a hung parliament would be bad for UK business and stifle growth.

The independent research, conducted by BDRC Continental on behalf of CNBC, was of 300 senior UK decision makers at mid to large businesses and SMEs. According to the poll, when asked who will win the election, Cameron is the outright winner, with very few business leaders contemplating the possibility of a hung parliament:

67% believe the Conservatives will win18% believe Labour will remain in power7% believe there will be a hung parliament with no overall control5% believe the Liberal Democrats could win3% believe there will be a coalition or don’t know.

CNBC’s research also assessed the opinions of business leaders’ pre and post the recent live TV leader debates.

When asked which leader best addressed the business issues of Britain, Clegg looked like a leader for business prior to debates, however opinion shifted quite significantly after the debate with support for Clegg dropping. Cameron meanwhile increased his lead and Brown remained significantly behind in third place:

Pre debate Post debate

Cameron 39% 50%

Clegg 43% 34%

Brown 17% 15%

When asked which of the party manifestos best promotes the business interests of Britain, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats increased their lead slightly post-debate, however, support for Labour fell considerably:

Pre debate Post debate

Conservatives 52% 58%

Lib Dems 20% 23%

Labour 24% 16%

CNBC conducted two waves of research to understand the opinions of business leaders, one ahead of the election campaign and one during electioneering.

Key research findings include:

On which leader do you believe has the best understanding of protecting and promoting the business interests of Britain?

Cameron remains the most popular candidate, however business leaders’

support for him has gone down, whilst support for Nick Clegg has more than doubled since the beginning of the election campaign.

Wave 1 Wave 2

David Cameron 64% 52%

Gordon Brown 24% 27%

Nick Clegg 9% 20%

Caroline Lucas 3% 1%

Nigel Farage - 1%

On who will make the best chancellor in the next government?

George Osborne is still the business leaders’ first choice for Chancellor, however, support for Vince Cable as the next Chancellor has grown.

Wave 1 Wave 2

Osborne 31% 28%

Clarke 25% 24%

Cable 20% 27%

Darling 19% 20%

Balls 4% 2%

Barbara Stelzner, Vice President of News & Programming, EMEA at CNBCsaid: “British business and the future of the economy are at the heart of this election. Our research illustrates just how fearful business leaders are at the prospect of a hung parliament and how this could delay decisions on Britain’s record budget deficit. We will be covering the last leg of the campaign and the final results with a special focus on analysing their impact on the business and finance community.”

The full research findings will be reviewed and debated live and exclusively on CNBC’s Strictly Money at 11.00am on Tuesday, 4th May 2010.

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