Tomorrow’s Times has a poll of Conservative party members about the forthcoming leadership election, showing Theresa May ahead of the supposed favourite, Boris Johnson. Asked who would they would prefer as party leader May is on 36% to Johnson’s 27% (Andrea Leadsom and Stephen Crabb are both on 7%, Liam Fox is on 4%). Party members only actually get to vote on the final two candidates of course, and in a straight contest between Theresa May and Boris Johnson current support stands at May 55%, Johnson 38% – a seventeen point lead for May. The full tables are here.

Theresa May appears to have had a good EU referendum campaign or at least, by standing a little aside from it her reputation has survived intact while most other Tory politicians have been damaged. When YouGov asked Tory members if they had positive or negative impressions of various politicians 72% were positive about May, up 4 from before the referendum. In contrast Boris Johnson was at 58% (down 18 since the referendum), Gove 63% (down 6), Sajid Javid 42% (down 8), IDS 54% (down 9), George Osborne 47% (down 21). She is also one of relatively few figures who is positively regarded by both those members who supported remain and those members who supported leave.

Part of the turnaround appears to be the perception that Theresa May is better placed to unite the party – 64% of party members said this was one of the most important considerations (up twenty points since Febrary) and May has a thirty point lead over Johnson on who would be better able to unite the party (46% to 16%). Given the current political and economic situation, she also has a lead over Johnson on ability to handle a crisis (49% to 18%), taking tough decisions (46% to 18%) and negotiating with Europe (32% to 22%).

Boris Johnson’s own strengths are still apparent though – he is seen as by far the best media performer and the candidate who best understands how to win an election. Both he and Stephen Crabb are ahead of Theresa May on who party members think would be most in touch with ordinary people. While the poll shows him losing in a May -vs- Johnson run off, they still suggest Boris would win in a run-off against Stephen Crabb (by 54% to 31%) or Liam Fox (by 52% to 29%).

This is, of course, a very early poll – it was conducted between Monday and Wednesday, so before nominations opened or the final list of candidates was confirmed. Party members don’t yet know what pledges and promises the candidates will make, what their detailed stance will be on Europe or other key issues. For less well known candidates like Stephen Crabb many members won’t know much about them at all. As the race begins though, Theresa May has the early advantage.


1,618 Responses to “YouGov poll of Conservative party members – MAY 55%, JOHNSON 38%”

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  1. VALERIE

    Like that one as well, thanks :-)

  2. @JAYBLANC

    “Unless, against all evidence, it turns out that Britian’s mid-term future is much brighter, It’s hard to see a long-term future for Anti-EU Party Politics in this country. This appears to have been a pyrrhic victory for those opposed to the EU. I expect a weaker England to rejoin the EU at some point.”

    More sour grapes from a Remainer, by the sound of it. You lot really are deluding yourselves that the EU is something wonderful that any country should want to be part of.

    If your assumptions about the possible result if the EUref had been held a few years later are correct, then we’ve had a lucky escape.

    Why on earth would the UK (or England/Wales) ever want to jump back on board the sinking ship that is the EU?

  3. Half past one and still no leadership challenge! I better get on with real life stuff, looks like coup has failed. Now I’ve said that it will all kick off while I’m not looking!

  4. @David Carrod

    You rather prove my point, by being on the instant attack and assault. That’s not going to win any remain voters over to your side.

  5. Well we have had one party leader resignation today. Are they supposed to like buses, so that two come along at once?

  6. Jayblanc
    “That’s not going to win any remain voters over to your side.”

    The time for that was before the referendum.

  7. @Pete B

    Elections are not carved in stone, set for all time, for all future descendants to follow… The youngest generations of voters is angry and upset and considered themselves Europeans. If the only thing that is going to be told to them is “You lost, shut up.” then there are rough times ahead.

  8. @JAYBLANC

    It will be interesting if the legal case launched by Mishcon de Reya will bear fruit. I certainly think that there is a strong case to compel a parliamentary vote, and I hope the new PM will be sweating heavily under the collar during that vote. Some people like to bend the rules in order to satisfy their precious voters, but parliament is still sovereign.

  9. JAYBLANC

    That’s an interesting post which many will agree with, an many will not. It’s certainly true that a majority over 45 voted for BREXIT and a majority under 45 voted for REMAIN.

    You say ” it’s hard to see why getting older would make you naturally more Eurosceptic.”

    Why? Surely that depends on whether of not the EU prospers, and how it develops.You seem to blame my generation for BREXIT and on the voting split I understand why. However you seem to forget that it was the same generation that voted the UK into the Common Market and kept us there at the first referendum. So why did they vote out in huge numbers on the 23rd June? Maybe they became disillusioned with the direction the EU was going and felt we would be better off out.

    It would be interesting to here what you think, if, instead of the doom you predict after BREXIT, the British economy grows rapidly after an initial slowdown while the EU continues with low growth, high unemployment and continued mass immigration.

  10. DAVID CARROD

    “Why on earth would the UK (or England/Wales) ever want to jump back on board the sinking ship that is the EU?”
    ______

    That’s something I’ve been asking about for a while. Even before Brexit the EU was in decline. They seem to think the only way for the EU to survive is for it to bloat and take in other countries but t the same time failing to see that this expansionism policy is actually making it weaker and less appealing to current members.

  11. David Carrod: “Why on earth would the UK (or England/Wales) ever want to jump back on board the sinking ship that is the EU?”

    You could ask the same of someone who has taken to a liferaft and after being battered by large waves for a while, cold wet and hungry, looks back and realises the ship isn’t sinking after all and in fact they’re just starting to serve cocktails and distribute the dinner menu.

    Of course, in that situation, some will say, “no, I’ve made my choice. I’m better off out here on my own.” Others will say, “let me back!”

  12. JAYBLANC

    Sorry my spelling problems, I mean “hear” not “here”.

  13. JAYBLANC

    I fear I agree with you that things are going to get more divisive and rough times are ahead. I can’t see anyone seeking to bring the country together and the 48% have the least to lose.

  14. @SOMERJOHN

    I couldn’t have put it better myself. Excellent.

  15. You know I really take exception to people who voted remain and are now complaining at the closeness of the final result. Cast your minds back to polling night, the leave side had almost chucked in the towel even before a result came in yet just across the river and despite all the polls showing the result will be extremely close, the remain side thought they had it in the bag and were already sipping champagne.

    So please…less of the crocodile tears over it being a close result…it would had been champagne and corks flying had it been a narrow remain win…..

  16. ROGER MEXICO

    Excellent post, as ever, and thanks for both the links. The Con leadership one is particularly interesting and clearly took a lot of work to pull together so quickly.

    I was slightly surprised at Leadsom’s “Endorsements”, though, which include Katie Hopkins & Nick Griffin. I have no idea whether Leadsom welcomes the endorsement of the fragrant Ms Hopkins or not but Griffin’s endorsement may be unwelcome to her.

    Despite being a great resource, Wiki does have its limitations!

  17. @ToH

    Are you perhaps failing to remember that your Generation was also preceded by another Generation, and another Generation before that, who may have held different views to yours? And those generations, having lived through two world wars, might have different views about a stable and closer Europe than you do?

    Now, we don’t have the detailed demographic polling to show how the generations voted in 1975. But are you seriously saying that it was the post-war generation alone that made the choice decisive?

    On the other hand, I can say that the rise in Anti-EU sentiment does seem to follow the demographic trend of the post-war generations coming into primacy. And that it appears to have peaked some time ago, and has been declining.

    And again, the result was on a knife edge. Almost as many voted to remain as leave. It was not a clearly decisive vote as 1975 was.

    We’ll have to wait and see who’s ‘right’ in ten years time. But saying you will be right, when the majority of experts disagreed, seems… presumptuous.

  18. @Allan Christie

    I think I already replied to you on this point before. I will do so again.

    Had Remain won, then nothing in the nation would have changed. And, further still, there would certainly absolutely be UKIP still there demanding another referendum. And Anti-EU politicians would still demand the UK withdraw.

    And we’d have given them their say. And they’d get to stand in elections. And probably get another referendum…

    However, with Article 50 bearing down on us, and emergency financial measures having to be taken, this isn’t the same situation we’re in now. It’s been clearly demonstrated that there are major downsides, which were publicly dismissed by the Leave campaign, and only now admitted to being true.

    These situations are not mirrors of each other. The Leave vote has already had un-alterable impact on the country, a Remain vote wouldn’t have.

  19. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    I understand your frustration, but there is a fundamental difference. A remain vote would have changed nothing – everything would have carried on as before – but a leave vote is a revolution, it’s a change to our constitutional arrangements, so the onus is surely on the leave camp to prove that it has a clear and strong mandate, and I don’t believe it does. It’s a shame that it has taken a law firm to protect our constitutional principles when leading MPs are all happy to go with the flow.

  20. And fundamentally, it comes down to this…

    If we had a referendum to turn back the tides, would you drag the 48% who voted against walking into the sea into the waters with you?

  21. Jayblanc

    I think you’re right about the anti-Europeanism of the post war generation (of which I’m part).

    I wonder if it’s to do with the triumphalist atmosphere in which we grew up? The films, the books and perhaps above all the comics, in which we plucky Brits were for ever overcoming daunting odds to teach the dastardly Huns a lesson they’d never forget.

    i’m a part of that generation, and I absorbed huge amounts of that stuff (Rover and Aventure comics – before and after they were combined, were my favourites. Anyone remember Matt Braddock, bomber pilot? ) It wasn’t until my early teens that I started to shake that stuff off. I think a lot of my peers never have.

  22. I’m also at a loss as to what the Leave camp want out of Remain voters. Do they want us to stop saying we think it’s going to end badly for us? Just because you won a referendum, doesn’t change our opinions.

    The 48% still get to say that it’s going to be a bad thing to do, that we don’t think a slim majority is a decisive and clear mandate for the drastic steps you want to take, and we’d really like it if you stopped and reconsidered.

  23. @TANCRED

    “It’s a shame that it has taken a law firm to protect our constitutional principles when leading MPs are all happy to go with the flow.”

    Although a Leave supporter, I actually agree with the Law firm who say that A50 cannot be triggered while the European Communities Act 1972 is still on the statute book.

    However, they are saying that it needs a new Act to repeal the existing statute, which is not strictly true. Any Act can be repealed or amended by means of a Statutory Instrument, which can be passed through Parliament in a matter of weeks, rather than a completely new Act requiring three readings in each House, with committee stages inbetween.

    It would be sensible and fair to have a debate and vote in the Commons before enacting such an SI, and one would sincerely hope that the majority of MPs would respect the democratic decision of the electorate in such a vote.

    Once the ECA 1972 is repealed, the A50 notice can then be served.

  24. JAYBLANC

    Re the preceding generation I can only talk about the opinions of people in my own family all of whom have died. My father who fought in WW1 voted to join the common market, as I did but by the time of the 1st referendum we both voted to leave. He was very disillusioned. My wife’s parents voted against the Common Market and voted to leave in the 1st referendum, so did most of their brothers and sisters.

    “We’ll have to wait and see who’s ‘right’ in ten years time. But saying you will be right, when the majority of experts disagreed, seems… presumptuous”

    It may seem presumptuous to you but then that could have been said of many over the years, Galileo for example.

  25. Sadly, I believe that there would not be enough Tory and Labour rebels to scupper a Brexit vote in parliament. The political courage is simply not there, given that it would probably end the careers of such rebels. The Lib-Dems have nothing to lose as they have such a low base to begin with. Irrespective of that, a parliamentary vote should and must take place to finally put the nails in the coffin of our EU history. The longer article 50 is delayed, the stronger the hand of any rebels, given that any drawbacks of a proposed deal with the EU would be magnified in any parliamentary debate. No wonder that Leadsom is so keen to ‘get on with it’. Political games are being played and despite public pronouncements there are many who have strong reservations about the entire Brexit process.

  26. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    I wonder why all these former pro-marketeers have been disillusioned. What on earth did they expect? Rivers flowing with milk and honey?

  27. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “You know I really take exception to people who voted remain and are now complaining at the closeness of the final result. ”

    It’s why I was so proud of my son yesterday, he voted to REMAIN but felt really irritated by fellow remainers who could not accept the democratic will of the people.

  28. via Britain Elects

    Westminster voting intention:
    CON: 37% (+1)
    LAB: 30% (-2)
    UKIP: 15% (-)
    LDEM: 8% (+1)
    GRN: 4% (-1)
    (via ICM, online / 01 – 03 Jul)

  29. TANCRED

    No we expected a free trade area, not an attempt to make an undemocratic European superstate.

  30. OLDNAT

    Thank’s, how do you get all these polling figures so quickly?

    It will be good to get back to polling. No sign there, that the referendum is having any effect on how people would vote in an election. The electorate don’t generally like split parties and both Cons and Labour are split at the moment so probably cancelling any negative effects out.

  31. SOMERJOHN
    It wasn’t until my early teens that I started to shake that stuff off. I think a lot of my peers never have.

    As a 40’s boomer myself, I agree with all of that and managed to shake it off myself by the time I left school. The politics of GB in splendid isolation from Europe failed at least twice in the 20th century and I was lucky enough to have had a history teacher who understood that.

    Had BBC4’s excellent documentary shown last night on the story of British and German soldiers’ [illicit] photography during the First World War been made compulsory viewing in every secondary school after it was first shown in 2014 young voters would have understood even better what the “European Project” was about.

  32. JAYBLANC

    Of course there will be bumps along the way…Leave could not possibly put out a 100% full proof plan because as in the Scottish indy vote a lot of what was being suggested post independence was circumstantial and based on multiple scenario’s.

    The remain side gave warning after warning over the economy during the EU vote and had all the government apparatus at their disposal alongside just about every head of state yet somehow they did not get their message through…Why was that?

    I suspect when the Tories find a new leader/PM and the negotiations start then in a few years time we will be looking back and wondering what the heck all the fuss was about.

    The only negative side to the whole EU debate was UKIP’s posters. Had they not appeared then I think the final leave vote would had been much higher.

    However we live in interesting times and I do accept the over all UK leave / remain vote was close and yes leave voters (as indeed Yes voters in Scotland) would had still been calling for a Brexit despite if remain had won but I always thought a vote to breakaway from a union via a referendum was a one way ticket..No going back we were told.

    Just another point.. Scotland and NI are taking their own course over the Brexit result. They have devolved administrations speaking out for them but what about England where 7% more (2 million people) voted for leave than remain? What about their wishes? If Scotland and NI accept the overall UK vote and it was a UK decision to leave the EU then I will accept the over all UK vote was close but until then England voted overwhelmingly to leave.and that can’t be ignored.

  33. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    This was never about a free trade area – that existed before with EFTA. The EEC (and later the EU) was always designed to promote European unity. If you didn’t see it in 1975 you must have been pretty blind.

  34. TOH

    I follow Britain Elects and the pollsters on Twitter.

  35. Allan Christie: “The remain side gave warning after warning over the economy during the EU vote and had all the government apparatus at their disposal alongside just about every head of state yet somehow they did not get their message through…Why was that?”

    Could it be something to do with the 80/20 split of press allegiance in favour of Brexit?

  36. On the issue of Scottish independence, I don’t believe that the recent vote for Brexit will cause a massive upswing in demand for a new referendum, however it will help to cement and harden the pro-independence vote and possibly attract some unionists. I doubt that a new independence vote would take place in the current parliament – the SNP would want to increase their Holyrood numbers before taking such a step.

  37. TOH

    Of course, at this time of year, I’m only at the computer when it’s raining (too much of the time this year!)

    I agree that the current state of the UK parties gives little reason for people to shift from their previous votes – what would they be shifting to?

    Even in Scotland, where it does look like SLab have slumped further to lie 3rd (18%) behind SCon (19%) in VI,
    that is the continuation of a trend rather than a response to current events.

  38. OLDNAT

    Thank’s, I’m not on twitter, but I will have a look at Britain Elects.

  39. SOMERJOHN
    Could it be something to do with the 80/20 split of press allegiance in favour of Brexit?

    Coupled with Project Fear 2, I would guess it was. Contrariwise, Project Fear 1 in Scotland helped inoculate the electorate against both.

  40. THE OTHER HOWARD
    ALLAN CHRISTIE
    “You know I really take exception to people who voted remain and are now complaining at the closeness of the final result. ”

    “It’s why I was so proud of my son yesterday, he voted to REMAIN but felt really irritated by fellow remainers who could not accept the democratic will of the people”
    ______

    Good on your son and likewise my parents both voted remain and they too have accepted the result and just want to move forward. They both have sympathy for what the Scottish gov are trying to do to protect Scotland’s place in the EU but at the same time accept it was a UK wide decision.

    I also agree it’s a UK wide decision but accept 2 bits of the UK went one way and 2 bits went another way so if the remain bits get a deal from the EU then fantastic…the leave bits can then get on with Brexit where the final result was Emphatically for leave.

  41. Tancred

    “I doubt that a new independence vote would take place in the current parliament – the SNP would want to increase their Holyrood numbers before taking such a step.”

    Unnecessary. There is already a pro-indy majority at Holyrood through the Greens and SNP. It seems likely that, if Sturgeon considers a referendum is advisable, circumstances will be such that the “maybes” in SLab and SLD (perhaps even in SCon) will also support it.

  42. OLDNAT

    Yes, I think that’s right, it probably is too early to see any effect from the referendum vote. Probably the passions raised on both sides of the debate (as seen on here) are cancelling each other out as regards GE voting at the moment.

  43. SOMERJOHN
    Allan Christie: “The remain side gave warning after warning over the economy during the EU vote and had all the government apparatus at their disposal alongside just about every head of state yet somehow they did not get their message through…Why was that?”
    …….
    “Could it be something to do with the 80/20 split of press allegiance in favour of Brexit?”
    __

    I don’t know? … if you’re hinting that it was the case then presumably the Scots were also duped by the same media in 2014?

    I don’t read the papers and tend to follow the people who are campaigning but when it comes to media on the TV then it was shockingly in favour of remain.

  44. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Fair enough Alan, at heart I’m a unionist although at times I’ve said otherwise when really irritated. I do accept that Scotland and N.Ireland have every right to decide to leave the UK if it’s done democratically.

  45. Allan Christie

    “I don’t read the papers and tend to follow the people who are campaigning”

    There’s an interesting bit of research on Roger Scully’s blog about the votes of young people in Wales.

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2016/07/04/why-did-wales-brexit-through-the-gift-shop/

    “Young people in Wales did not vote in high proportions to remain, nor do they appear to differ greatly from young people in the UK as a whole in terms of sourcing campaign information and trust in the campaigns. The low levels of young Welsh people using social media is the one exception“

  46. ALLAN CHRISTIE & SOMERJOHN

    “I don’t read the papers and tend to follow the people who are campaigning but when it comes to media on the TV then it was shockingly in favour of remain.”

    I think it’s fair comment from Somerjohn about the papers. On the media I think the BEEB did try to be impartial but failed at times, as did Sky i would agree about the rest.

  47. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    The DUP will fight tooth and nail to avoid a united Ireland, though I expect that the more middle class Official Unionists will settle for a deal that allows the province a special overlapping status between the UK and Ireland with guarantees for rights of the Protestant community.

  48. Another resignation!

    Someone called “Chris Evans” has left something called “Top Gear” (which sounds like it might be a clothes shop).

  49. OLDNAT

    One implication of your last post was that social media had a strong pro remain effect other than in Wales. I have no knowledge of social media so would be interested in your opinion.

  50. Allan Christie: “I don’t read the papers.”

    Why not take a look at the Loughborough University study of press coverage linked to be Tully:

    http://blog.lboro.ac.uk/crcc/eu-referendum/uk-news-coverage-2016-eu-referendum-report-5-6-may-22-june-2016/

    They have a picture of front page headlines which will give you a flavour.

    It beggars belief that such overt campaigning in one direction wouldn’t have swung the voting by 2%.

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