The Times have a YouGov poll tomorrow asking who people want to see as the next Conservative leader. Now, this is a question that I had got a bit bored of asking over the years: almost always Boris Johnson wins easily – he is the most recognisable of the Tory leadership contenders, obviously the most charismatic, and seems to have swung the trick of getting judged by the standards of a celebrity rather than the standards of a politician. However, in today’s poll he is pipped by Theresa May – 19% of the public think she would be the best candidate for the next leader of the Tories, 18% think Boris Johnson. To put this in context a similar question a week and a half ago had Johnson six points ahead of May, a fortnight ago Johnson was twelve points ahead of May.

This is, I hasten to add, polling of the general public, not of the people who decide. It is the votes of Conservative MPs and the party members that actually count, and they may very well have completely different views. However – part of Boris’s appeal to the Conservative party is his supposed ability to reach out to voters, his charisma and his public popularity are one of his primary selling points. If he isn’t the choice of the wider public… well.

Anyway, the really interesting thing will be if the increase in support for Theresa May among the general public is echoed among the Conservative electorate. For that, however, we will have to wait for some polling of Conservative party members…

1,010 Responses to “YouGov show May and Johnson neck-and-neck as public choice for next Tory leader”

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  1. @Somerjohn,

    You’re misrepresenting me.

    All I’m saying is that I don’t think there’s anything inherently more conservationist about the combined voices of 28 countries than the single voice of one.

    You are presuming that a future Tory government would authorise the annihilation of UK fish stocks by UK fishermen. I’m saying you can’t know that, just as you can’t know that a future EU decision wouldn’t authorise the annihilation of UK fish stocks by Spanish fishermen.

    My understanding of the situation is that the UK, like Ireland, Norway and Iceland, has a relatively large fishing area due to geography. Currently the fish in that area are divvied up between companies around the EU, partly based on the size of each country’s fleets. As far as I am aware (and I am no expert so open to correction), the end of the CFP would free up fish in UK waters, as they’d no longer be fair game for EU fishing fleets. In return the EU would apply tariffs on UK fish (as they do with Norwegian fish).

    With that greater share of fish stocks, we can do two things. Increase the quotas of our UK fishing fleets, or leave them the same and reduce the pressure on the fisheries. The fishermen will obviously press for more of the former, environmentalists for more of the latter. I suspect the reality would be somewhere in the middle.

  2. Test


    Thanks for the link.

    The New kind of politics-my God !

  4. OLDNAT (last thread)

    Your’e not the only one to prefer Anna Neagle but as you say it does date us.

  5. TOH

    I prefer my neighbour’s beagle too, but Anna Neagle has it by a wide margin (and about 60 years)

    May does seem to have the backing of the party so would expect here to win, but not sure in an election (unless the Tories win that ‘unopposed’)

  6. Neil A – My understanding of fish issue is that our fish don’t understand they are ours. They actually believed in free movement of fish and as we are so close to other countries they actually cross borders with great ease and a similar lack of patriotism.

  7. @Colin,

    Laughing stock of the world.

    Surely the first ever anti democracy demonstration..?

  8. Ps; get your money on Leadsom.

  9. @Alec,

    You are absolutely spot on in your analysis.

    The referendum result was effectively a 100% accurate opinion poll, and was a snapshot of public opinion on 23rd June 2016.

    We know that the average of the opinion polls in the immediate run-up to the vote was about 3% incorrect (someone can work out a correct figure..). But if the polls are different by 20% from the referendum result we will know public opinion has shifted..

    That is why I hope May will be Tory leader.. If opinion shifts she will be pragmatic, and she will look at the polls on post-Brexit options as they emerge and not just stick to an extreme ideological position as I fear Gove, Fox or Leadsom would, based on what they have been saying. But of course they are all just saying what they think the 150,000 largely eurosceptic Tory members want to hear at the moment, so we don’t really know what they would do in practice..
    This is a very important election for all of us because the next Prime Minister will define our future relationship with Europe post-Brexit, something that was not in any way addressed in the referendum vote. I can accept that my future can be determined by 52% of the British people in a fair vote, and I know I have to live with it, at least until there is sufficient demand for a second test of opinion. But I cannot accept that it is democratic for it to be determined by 150,000 Tory members who do not even reflect the average opinion of Tory voters


    I’m sure that there is some proper evidence for it if you read it somewhere but I challenged you to qualify a very broad statement and the data that you provided was not really enough to give that basis…thanks for trying tho :)


    You cannot assume that everyone who wants EEA is a remainer as there is obviously the issue of sovereignty and political union which would be a motivation to vote leave

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