Polling in the weekend papers is dominated by the Conservative leadership race. The Mail on Sunday has a Survation poll, or more to the point, two Survation polls. A full one conducted on Wednesday and Thursday and then a second one conducted on Saturday after the news story of the police being called to Boris Johnson’s flat had broken.

I would always urge some caution with “Has X made you more or less likely to support Y” questions. Some people answer them in a way to register their approval or disapprove of the event or the candidate, rather than whether it has really changed their mind. Hence lots of people who really loathed Boris Johnson anyway will have said it has made their opinion worse, when actually they would probably never have supported him anyway. It also explain the rather perverse finding that 9% of people say the story makes them them more likely to support Boris Johnson – I expect those are actually just people trying to express their pro-Boris Johnson opinion, rather than it actually having improved their opinion.

The much more better way of measuring change is to compare before and after preferences. On Wed/Thurs Survation asked who would make the better Prime Minister, finding the public preferred Johnson to Hunt by 36% to 28%. They polled the same question again on Saturday and found the balance had shifted, with Johnson on 29%, Hunt 32%. Among Conservative voters Johnson continued to lead, but by a smaller margin – the break was Johnson 55%, Hunt 28% on Wed/Thurs, Johnson 45%, Hunt 34% on Saturday.

This gives an early indication that the story has shifted public opinion against Johnson a bit – though as ever, I would urge some caution. It was taken just as a story was breaking when it was all over the news. Whether it has any impact in a few weeks time is a completely different question. It is also important to remember that the views of Conservative voters are not necessarily a good guide to the views of Conservative party members.. Full tables for the Survation polls are here and here.

(A quick note for methodology geeks. On their main poll Survation are now including the Brexit party in the main prompt alongside the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. Green party, UKIP and ChangeUK are in the secondary prompt. More interestingly, the Wed/Thurs poll was also weighted by recalled 2019 European election vote, which appears from the weighted/unweighted numbers to downweight 2019 Labour voters quite substantially and bump up the Lib Dems and Greens. I don’t know if that’s a permanent change they are adopting.)

There is also a ComRes poll in the Telegraph – it is headlined as a poll of “grass-roots Tories”, but it is in fact a poll of Conservative councillors, not of ordinary Conservative party members. The two things are really not interchangeable. For what it’s worth though, among Tory councillors Johnson leads Hunt by 61% to 39%. It was carried out on Friday and Saturday, so would have straddled the Johnson domestic row story. It not clear how much of the fieldwork was before and after the story breaking.

Finally we come to the people who actually do have a vote in this election. YouGov had a new poll of Conservative party members in yesterday’s Times. The fieldwork for this was between Wednesday and Friday, so was before the story about the police visiting Johnson’s flat had broken. However, it underlines the huge lead that Johnson had among members – he led Hunt by 68% to 23% (74% to 26% once don’t knows are excluded), with 80% of members saying they were already fairly certain who they would vote for. Johnson would really need to make a mess of things to throw away a lead that large. The other interesting pickings from that poll where that while Tory members were voting for Boris, many didn’t actually trust him – only 47% thought he could be trusted to tell the truth, 40% did not.

So, all in all, the Survation poll raises the possibility that the Johnson domestic had some impact, but it’s only one poll, done in the immediate aftermath. I’d wait to see if it lasts once the story is off the front pages. In the meantime, polling of the people who can actually vote in this contest suggest Johnson has such a large lead that it would take something major to throw it away.

531 Responses to “Weekend polls – has the Johnson row damaged him in the leadership race?”

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  1. Ipsos-MORI poll for the Evening Standard:


    I can’t see the details yet on the Ipsos-MORI web site but from the article it looks like Hunt is catching Boris.

  2. @CIM

    I think both your analyis of the options that Parliament might face and your asessment of the lieklihood of a Commons majority for each are spot on.

    The only other comment I would make, on the narrow question of “Parliament stopping no deal”, is that only in your second case does Parliament stop no deal. All the others rely on someone else ultimately doing it, or at least (in the last case) agreeing to it.

  3. @Leftie

    Data linked in article “get the data”. Not worth it, mind.

  4. “Is there a majority against “no deal” if the alternative…”

    is another vote? seems to be missing from that list. Not sure it’s all that likely an option they will face but it’s as likely as some of the others there.

  5. @Somerjohn

    I was living at home in Colchester doing my A-levels’s in 1970/71. We used to hitchhike to Wivenhoe to watch live bands. I remember Canned Heat and Fairport Convention. :-) I was studying sociology of course,

  6. @ James E

    I don’t want a stronger pound, I want it to become the norm that it stays exactly where it is just now, it will help to speed up the rebalancing of the economy. It will inevitably over the medium term reduce the amount of crap (particularly plastics IMO) we buy from overseas and on the other side of the coin it really improves our export potential. I was in London on Sunday and we were talking to a group of Americans in a pub near Covent Garden and they told us the only reason they’re here is because they can afford to come because of the level of the pound. London was absolutely packed with tourists everywhere we went.

    Personally and anecdotally our business sales have improved noticeably this last year and we have attracted new customers in countries we haven’t dealt with before.

  7. My earlier post on the Labour antisemitism issue followed the news regarding Chris Williamson of course.

  8. Bantams,

    “ I want it to become the norm that it stays exactly where it is just now”

    Join the Euro… price stability with our closest neighbours and largest trading partner?


  9. @Valerie

    Ah yes, gigs in the Hex! (Hexagon restaurant). I saw Fairport Convention there, and lots of others, but don’t remember Canned Heat. I expect you know Fairport’s live album (“What we did on our holidays”, from memory) includes a track from that concert, and a blackboard drawing of one of the towers is on the cover.

    @ Norbold

    I passed on the demos, I’m afraid. I was in the first flush of love and took every opportunity to disappear back to my girlfriend in Devon. Plus, to be honest, I got shocked out of my socialist leanings by the silly middle class kids playing at being working class heroes. Remember the Angry Brigade?

  10. @peterw

    Agreed – inevitable from any course that stops “no deal” without also stopping Brexit entirely, unless Parliament then (somehow?) takes direct control of the negotiations process with the government only kept around for ceremonial purposes.

    I suppose I should also add to the list
    – “no deal” or “accept May’s deal”
    as another definitely not, though one which would actually prevent “no deal”


    I don’t think that one’s a plausible choice for them to be faced with on its own at this stage.

    There’s not enough time to legislate for and hold a referendum that could take place before we’re currently scheduled to leave anyway, so Parliament would need to do something to directly or indirectly obtain another extension first.

    I suppose there is just about time to pass at least indicative intent to legislate for a referendum and to request an extension sufficient to construct and run it – but I think there is no chance of a majority to do so in the current Parliament.
    (A slim majority in favour of the principle of another referendum to avoid – or defer? – no deal, might not be impossible. But for any specific referendum – i.e. what’s the option that’s not Remain? – no chance, I think)

  11. “But for any specific referendum – i.e. what’s the option that’s not Remain? – no chance, I think”

    Johnson’s shiny new deal? (i.e. May’s deal rebadged with added waffle), and yes, would assume it would come with extension.

    I agree not likely scenario to be faced, but not sure it’s any less likely than a new GE or a cross party temporary PM!

    Ultimately everyone will just want to kick the can further down the road.

  12. @Bantams

    London was absolutely packed with tourists everywhere we went.

    I have thought there would be a bitter sweet irony if Brexit resulted in a weaker pound, increasing tourism, especially in London.

    The leave voter I know voted leave to punish “London and it’s metropolitan elite”.

    So leave results in more foreigners and an even more dominant London economy. Definite LOL.

  13. @ JAMES E – That is why it was a PS. There is a relationship between growth and personal finances but HMG, BoE (and the market) can effect and affect both growth and personal finances (as they did after Project Fear 1)

    @ ALEC – If you have the Resoluton Foundation link then please post it.

    It is possible you meant IfS, which I’ll post below. I had hoped someone was going to post it when it came out as it shows the 15% devalutation you mentioned at 8:37am had virtually no effect.

    Note the dates that the report covers! Since then inflation has moderated and min.wage, wages are all now generating real increases.

    Benefits issue is one of choice and a bit of a tangent. Fiscal drag type issues can produce negative real changes in benefits but HMG can directly respond to that by increasing them (same for public sector pay, etc).

    We’ve discussed the choice of companies to increase profits rather than market share before. IMHO this is a largely an “uncertainty” issue as businesses need clarity. In Project Fear 1.0 part of the recession prediction was based on the “uncertainty” aspect which has probably been a 0.5%ish drag on potential GDP and will continue to be so until we have certainty on the outcome and businesses can adapt to the post Brexit opportunities (e.g. some greater protection for growth in domestic market as EU imports become significantly more expensive from the twin impact of tariffs and a weaker £)

    PS We have a massive deficit in travel and tourism so from a nativist perspective then a weaker £ is great news for UK based travel and tourism businesses – so I’m glad you mentioned that!

  14. With the strange Ipsos MORI added
    CON: 26% (+1)
    LAB: 24% (-3)
    LDM: 22% (+7)
    BXP: 12% (-4)
    GRN: 8% (-1)

    Via @IpsosMORI.
    Changes w/ 10-14 May

    I now make the average for this month so far (as usual with multiple polls by a company averaged before going in)

    Lab 25
    Con 23
    LD 19
    Brex 21.
    Gn 8

    With things a bit all over the place I am not bothering with decimal points. It confirms the general feeling that the 4 main parties are fairly close, with LD probably in 4th, but there is little agreement between polling companies about who is in front. The figure for Brexit in the Ipsos MORI poll made me think it was a London poll at first (Evening Standard poll) but it says across GB.

  15. @ CIM – Excellent post at 9:54am.

    Only small addition would be that not all of those options are within the control of HoC. Anything that involves writing a letter to Tusk (ie Revoke or 3rd extension) would require one or more preliminary steps.

    There is also limitations on what Bercow can do to allow HoC to “find a way” but I think you’ve covered the key part of that relating to the narrowing of choices as the clock ticks down to Oct31.

    The option of a 2nd ref has already expired, which I assume is why you left that out. Now we could ask for an extension in order to have a 2nd ref but this leads back to my first point about the “preliminary steps” which for a 2nd ref would be.. well.. “lots” and many of which would be unlikely to find a majority in current HoC, especially within the likely timeframe that EC-EU27 would allow us to keep p1ssing around.

    Finally since I mention p!ssing the EC-EU27 around then we’ve seen them cave in on 2nd extension rather than have a Macron “No Deal”.

    Boris is not May and won’t be bound by the terms of the 2nd extension, especially if/when it expires. If he wants to create “mischief” then he can do a lot more than the 29 BXP MEPs in that regard.

    Remainers seem to place an enormous amount of faith in EC-EU27 bending over backwards to permit further extensions yet are 110% certain they’ll never cave in on anything in the WA (or throw RoI under the French Tractor if/when it comes to protecting the SM and CU)

    and the call us n4ive :-) :-)

  16. That ipsos mori poll looks suspect on the BXP vote share.

    8-10 points different than other polls.

    Weirdness abounds.

  17. So it looks like the Brecon and Radnorshire election will take place around the 1st of August, interesting days

  18. @ EOTW – WTF?

    So Leavers[1] are apparently anti tourists in your opinion?

    That’s a new one. LOL!!

    PS Say hi to DANNY DYER for me. It’s amazing how many people know him but as we see in the polling he is certainly one of the few who voted Leave purely to stick his fingers up at Cameron as vast majority of Leavers are still… well… Leavers and “No Deal” Leavers if it comes to it!

    [1] Possibly some Cornish folks that grumble about the amount of tourists and some “luvvies” that would rather the oiks go to Benidorm than Bournemouth but travel and tourism is a boost for many regions in the UK – notably Scotland, not that UKPR Scots would ever admit that their polity is benefitting from Brexit!

  19. New post

  20. New thread

  21. @ Peter Cairns

    Join the Euro……are you mad?

    @ EOTW

    You’re looking at the wrong Leaver! I have no problem with immigration as long as it strengthens our economy in areas it most needs.

    You always play to your strengths and it is undeniable how much of a huge attraction London is and will always remain. We also went to Oxford, same story, we went to Blenheim & Hidcote, same story.

  22. @Trevor WARNE
    PS Can any Remainer explain why they, or UK economy in general, want a stronger £?

    Can Leavers play?
    I think the main reasons people want a strong pound are:

    a) historic prestige from when Britain ruled the waves and dominated global commerce;
    b) it makes holidays abroad much cheaper;
    c) it makes buying homes abroad cheaper;
    d) it makes employing staff from abroad cheaper if their motive is sending monies home to families in other countries;
    e) it makes outsourcing of factories and call centres to other countries much cheaper;
    f) It makes outsourcing of agricultural supply cheaper to supermarkets if they buy outside the UK rather than buying the same produce inside.

    There may be others.

    None seem to bless the UK economy and create jobs here in the mid and long term. All seem to send treasure, jobs, business investment abroad.
    None seem to increase exports, decrease imports,

    However, I do not think that Remain arguments are about mid and certainly not about long term regeneration of the UK economy.
    They are focused on the very short term, the short term and certainly not as long as two election cycles let alone seven election cycles.
    The shorter term considerations usually weigh highest in the minds of voters and the continuing strength of Leave VI shows to me that it is very strong indeed.

    Leave have never addressed the fact that as with all change there will be winners and losers. Especially those in London with cheap maids, cleaners, cooks, dog walkers, car washers, and those with businesses which operate at or even below minimum wage, well they may be among the losers at least in the short term.

    Quietly, gradually but steadily a new Upstairs and Downstairs world has been reintroduced into the UK as a result of globalism and expansion of the EU freedom of movement. Very many Upstairs Remain people really loved it. They were oblivious, indifferent or even enthusiastic concerning its eventual return to an 1800s Upstairs Downstairs world and even Middle Ages feudalism.

    The freedoms of the majority of people born in the UK which came after World War One, and more so after World War Two, had eroded the life of power, status and ease of people who like having servants. They do not look at Gosford Park and Downton Abbey as quaint drama but as a nostalgic world they want back. Nostalgia is IMHO as powerful with Remain as with Leave.

    Leave will spoil the lifestyle goals of many ardent Remain hardcore people.
    For other Remain people, it is just a religion because they do not have a religion.

    Although the above groups are in the minority about the 16 million Remain voters, they do make up most of the hardcore in Westminster, Whitehall, BBC, Sky, ITV, City still waving the flag to keep the flame alive.

    Leave should have been clearer there will be winners and losers. If most win, some can still lose. The some detest democracy for this reason.

    With strong and weak pound, both bring winners and losers. Savers love high interest rates, especially if there is low inflation. Borrowers and people with mortgages hate high interest rates.

  23. Link for 1:15pm

    “Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2019”

    Relevant tie-in to 15% deval is:

    ” inflation rose from 0.9% to 2.7% as a result of the lower sterling exchange rate following the EU referendum”

    That is pretty minimal pass-thru and blows a whopping great hole in the assumptions of most doom+gloom models that have copied over Project Fear1’s assumptions.


    Lots of other good stuff on IfS (eg Hunt’s bad policy choices joining Boris’s bad policy choices – although thankfully Boris has dropped the bonkers increase in HRT threshold)

  24. RE Ipso MORI

    I see from the website hat Brexit were not prompted for. That would explain much of the high Con and low Brexit figures.

  25. @Trevors – ” I would expect the “mini deals” to be at least what we saw in Mar’19 but those are mainly temporary measures that reduce the “crash-out” aspect …”

    I might be wrong, but my memory was that there were no deals, mini or otherwise. Just the EU announcing what they would allow on a temporary basis to suite themselves.

  26. @StatGeek

    There’s another article in the ES today:


    that refers to the same poll and says:

    “Asked how they would vote in an election, just 26 per cent said they would back the Conservatives (up one point since last month), while only 24 per cent would back Labour (down three). The Brexit Party were on 12 per cent (down by four).”

    So there is more data from this poll than what you pointed me at.

  27. Jonesinbangor,
    “Yes, the Lib Dems pick up a few seats if Labour don’t declare for Remain, but it’s a limited impact as I don’t see the Lib Dems being forgiven for the 2010 coalition.”

    It is axiomatic that floating brexit voters …..float. To anywhere offering them the correct stance on Brexit.

    all the evidence has always been that if labour must choose, it must choose remain. The only question has ever been whether they can stay neutral and so not offend a minority of left inclined leavers. But this policy only works if you can face both ways at once, and it has its own down side because it constantly erodes you trustworthiness score, because another group of voters is noticing you have two opposite and contradictory polices.

    However, I have also argued lab’s best interest might be served by losing a few remainers to lib, especially where libs might have a chance against con and they do not. Did anyone mention a forthcoming election?

  28. Jonathan Stuart Brown,
    “Alas it is not just the Labour Party moving in this direction.”

    I havnt read the linked article but I can see why seriously going green utterly undermines the current capitalist model. Which is based on throwaway goods and not factoring in pollution costs.

    But capitalism has always required regulation and government intervention to make it work. Its about allowing people to gain disproportionately from innovation and effort, not specifically about what overall rules are in place.

    We are long overdue for tax on aviation fuel, and perhaps something like VAT levied on the basis of the pollution costs of goods. Which would be fascinating in the context of WTO and introducing higher taxes on goods the further they have travelled. Plus the fun of boosted taxes on anywhere they make their electricity from coal instead of renewables.

  29. Carfrew,
    ” I mention it as something others have talked about.”

    Yeah, thats the thing. Fake news. No actual facts, just repeated propaganda. Thats why i dont believe it. I’ve given leave is it four years now to find some facts and they havnt. You yourself are just saying you heard an idea somewhere.

    All logic says the world out there outside the EU isnt shining unicorns but ravening wolves.

  30. Shevii,
    ““Sure, Labour lost more remain voters during the course of recent elections; but the party has lost more voters of the kind who voted leave over the course of a generation.””

    Thats all vey well, but it doesn’t mean going leave will get back those voters either.

    The result of the last election was that leave voters failed to turn out in support of con in a way which copied the referendum result, labour gained ground, even in leave areas. I dont really see what has changed from that national picture. Sure, individual seats might be diferent, but being the remain party in 2017 worked.

    In Peterborough, apparently 62% leave in the referendum and 38% Bxp in the euros, labour won. Leave split fairly evenly con and Bxp, while libs seem to have disappeared compared to the general share at that time. presumably lib remainers went tactically lab and got the win.

    Yes, remain can win in a 62% leave area.

    Just how realistic is it to think any leave motivated voter would vote labour, whatever labour said?

    ” What would be a long term disaster for Labour is yet another generation of deprived areas moving to will not vote or far right if Labour is seen as the party responsible for blocking Brexit.”

    Hmm. I recall some polling evidence that old people are leave and young remain. Whether lab or con. The difference between the parties being exaggerated because con has few young voters.

    So for con, their natural voters are leave, at first glance this explains their adopting leave. But for labour, to seek to appeal to leave voters is to appeal to part of the age demographich least keen on them anyway, and to alienate the young who are most inclined to labour.

    So to go brexit is to appease people who will not in the future vote for them anyway, and to alienate those who might. Just exactly the opposite of what they need to do if they are losing traditional solid supporters.

    “This is precisely the dream scenario for the Tories who have boxed themselves into a corner by promising undeliverable Brexit possibilities and have a get out of jail clause by being Labour’s fault that Brexit could not be delivered”

    The alternative is to help deliver a brexit which is then perceived as what no one wanted. Not remain and not leave. You just said the promises made about brexit are undeliverable, so its a guaranteed electoral failure to let it happen.

  31. To outrageously return to politics and polling….. it seems that Plaid are still mulling over whether to stand a candidate in Brecon and Radnor. Whilst in itself of little importance to the outcome of the seat given how weak they are there it is a decision of wider significance.

    For Plaid, as the Welsh national party not standing in a seat in Wales is much more significant (and difficult for them) than the Welsh branch of the English Green party not standing.

    More widely if they do decide to throw in their lot with the Lib Dems it obviously opens the door to wider cooperation.

    I wouldn’t expect this cooperation to extend to Scotland but given that a 2015 style result is reasonably likely there next time it probably wouldn’t matter. In the current environment a Remain Alliance would probably only need to poll about 30% (and possibly as low as 27-28) to win a UK Parliament election, given the divisions between Brxt, Conservatives and Labour. And additionally they could also have fun with Labour by giving a number of their explicitly Remain MPs a free run.

    But before Lib Dems and their allies start getting too excited this does strike me as potentially dangerous for democracy. FPTP allows a party/slate to win with a low % of the vote if there are enough competitive parties standing but the Referendum was won with 52% so to overturn it because a group of MPs are elected in the low 30s seems dangerous to say the least.

    I doubt this possibility has escaped strategists in the two big parties but they may well await what happens in B and R before moving.

    It seems that Labour’s path to making the necessary changes is easier than the Conservatives: the policy change they need to make is obvious and commands majority support across the party – though it will cost them some seats and they can still do local informal deals with the other Remain parties.

    For the Tories they’ll face the virtually impossible task of a Deal with Brxt or trying to outflank them on how hard their Brexit is. I suspect Boris is about to learn the art of can kicking with Brexit day slipping 24 hours… to the 32nd of October

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