Populus’s poll earlier this week caused some excitement when it suggested that David Davis might have pulled ahead of David Cameron amongst Conservative voters after Davis’s focus on policies like the return of grammar schools and promises of tax cuts. The only people who really count in the leadership election though are Conservative members, and a new YouGov poll in Saturday’s Telegraph shows that opinion amongst them is virtually unchanged since last weekend – with a third of the votes now cast, David Cameron retains a large lead.

Amongst the 33% of Tory members who said they had already cast their vote David Cameron leads David Davis by 68% to 32%. The levels of support amongst Conservative members who have not yet cast their vote is almost the same – 66% Cameron to 34% Davis amongst those who state a preference, with 12% saying they have yet to decide. These figures suggest that there has been no significant change in support since YouGov’s survey last weekend and with at least a third of the votes already cast David Cameron now appears to be firmly set for victory.

The answers to the questions on the candidates’ images and which would be better at leading a united party, in the Commons, coming across on television and so on remain practically unchanged – there is a slight increase in the proportion of people who think David Davis would be a better performer in the Commons, but even there Cameron retains a 15 point lead.

David Cameron does not seem to have been damaged by the revelations that he supports the downgrading of ecstasy to a Class B drug – unsurprisingly Conservative members told YouGov they thought it would be a bad thing by 65% to 19%, but evidently it has not cut Cameron’s lead.

Finally YouGov asked whether the Conservative party should act to ensure more female candidates are selected in winnable seats. 66% of party members said they were in favour of the Conservative party increasing the number of female candidates, with 19% opposed. Asked what measures to increase the number of female candidates they would support however, suggested that most Conservative members would be opposed to anything that approached compulsion. 82% would be happy with simple encouragement from CCO, 35% would support a rule forcing winnable associations to put at least one women on their shortlist. More extreme measures than this met with very little support indeed – only 14% supported target seats being forced to chose candidates from a ‘gold list’ of candidates, made up of 50% women and a minute 3% of members supported the use of women-only shortlists.


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