This morning’s Times has a new YouGov poll of Conservative party members, asking mainly about Brexit and the party leadership.

Party members are a generally loyal bunch, so as you’d expect all the main players are seen as doing well, though Michael Fallon and David Davis stand out as having the best job approval. While everyone has very positive ratings overall, there are some contrasts between members who voted remain and leave, most obviously in the case of Boris Johnson. 83% of Tory members who voted Leave think Boris is doing well as Foreign Secretary, only 42% of Tory remainers think he is.

Despite the strongly positive ratings for Davis, there are doubts over the Brexit negotiations. 61% of Tory members think the government are doing well, 33% badly. Asked about what the government’s approach should be, 59% agree with Theresa May’s aim of leaving the single market and customs union and negotiating a new deal, 19% would rather just leave immediately with no deal, 12% would rather Britain did remain a member of the single market and customs union, 9% would rather Britain remain a full EU member.

In terms of the details of Brexit Theresa May appears to have some degree of flexibility with her members so long as Britain makes a clean break. 58% of Tory members would think a transition deal was fine (even if it includes payment and following EU rules), 61% think a one-off payment to settle Britain’s financial liabilities is fine too. Trickier would be any ongoing financial payment in return for market access (70% of Tory members would see this as unacceptable) or Britain remaining in the single market (69% would see it as unacceptable).

Looking to May’s future, there is very little appetite for her immediate removal (only 13% of her party members would like her to go now or in the next year), but equally there is relatively little support for her still being around come the next election (only 29%). Most Tory party members would like her to leave after Brexit (38%) or just before the next election (13%).

Who would be a likely successor is unclear. Boris Johnson leads the field as first choice, but only of 23% of members. Second is Ruth Davidson on 19%, third is Jacob Rees-Mogg, suggesting there are actually real party members who think he’d make a good leader, rather than just journos struggling to fill column inches in silly season. David Davis has now dropped to fourth place on 11%, Amber Rudd is on just 6%.

Asked what is most important to them in a leader the vast majority of party members say ability to win an election or competence as Prime Minister, rather than whether they agree with them politically. Their actual preferences paint a different picture though, with consistent differences between Remain and Leave Tories. Tory members who voted Leave say their first choices are Johnson (29%), Rees-Mogg (23%), Davidson (14%), Davis (13%). Tory members who voted Remain say their first choices are Davidson (29%), Rudd (14%), Hammond (11%), Johnson (10%).

YouGov also asked about various potential candidates individually. 58% think Davidson would make a good leader, 56% Johnson, 55% Davis, 42% Rudd, 32% Hammond, 31% Fox, Javid 29%. While the poll included some less high profile figures who have been talked of as potential leaders of the future, most party members didn’t really have an impression of them – 49% said they didn’t know enough about Dominic Raab to have an opinion, 65% said the same about Tom Tugendhat. Notably, of all those asked about Ruth Davidson was the only candidate that both Remain voting Tories and Leave voting Tories thought would make a good leader. It would be an extremely positive sign for a Davidson leadership campaign… if, of course, she had any interest in moving down to Westminster or seeking the job.

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549 Responses to “YouGov poll of Tory party members”

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  1. Had a discussion with boyfriend this morning about the exciting possibilities of swashbuckling adventure created by Brexit and returning to our great trading status of yesteryear. Swashbuckling reminded me of how we started our progress to major power status. Piracy in the Elizabethan era was very important to the wealth of the nation, only downside was it annoyed the Spanish.

    Then we graduated to slave trading. Having got a taste for morally questionable free trade we moved on to drug dealing on a massive scale, managing to get more than a third of the population of China addicted to opium. We fought 3 war’s to defend our right to ruin people’s lives with additive substances without interference from the Chinese nanny state.

    Of course while we liked free trade when we were selling poison, when it came to the Empire we were determined to have a captive market. Something which led to the loss of the American colonies and protests in other parts of the Empire, which of course were often brutally repressed.

    I’m sort of guessing that post Brexit we can’t go back to piracy, except of the financial type which is our main business at the moment. Slave trading is probably out of the question, political correctness has gone mad. Drug dealing probably has too many experienced competitors. So the only option is to invade lots of countries for their own good and make them into captive markets.

    Boyfriend of course still believes that Brexit will be a land of milk and honey because of the British elite’s superior abilities.

  2. James e

    Yes indeed and the capital gains and corporation tax cut

  3. Well it might well be a land of milk and honey for the elite…


    Alan Johnson is a Blairite. He has always despised. Corbyn. Blaming him for the Brexit vote was what I would expect from him. Johnson would have been better off looking in the mirror and his own underwhelming performance in leading the Remain campaign. You have not demonstrated Corbyn was as of June 2016 ambivalent to remaining within the EU.

  5. Catalonia seems to be testing EU spokespersons.

    Uncompromising resistance to “Leavers” isn’t a badge they need right now.

  6. @COLIN

    here is some cobblers for you to look at

    With regard GO I am not sure why it is difficult to understand. he had difficulty getting more cuts through parliament as an example I used the Tax credit U turn which was going to save him £10B+ over the parliament as I remember it is just that people felt it was too much politically

    Austerity can work. But if everyone does it at once you have the paradox of thrift. Our main trading partners were doing austerity which meant that us doing austerity would be bad and lead to at best slow growth

    if other were expanding the economy then you could cut and export your way out of trouble. it is what canada did and it was the thing that everyone misses about their success

    But hey the Tories are doing the right thing all they need is a new leader and a new policies right


  7. Good evening all from a mild and dry Winchester.

    Hopefully the the PM will denounce the actions of the Spanish government against the Catalan people at her party conference.

    If Madrid isn’t careful then we could see a Balkans style conflict in Europe again. Madrid says the majority of Catalans don’t want independence so why are they so afraid of democracy?

    This might get very messy and plunge Spain into civil war. I’m a great believer in democracy and people taking up arms to fight for democracy.

  8. PTRP

    Thanks-but I thought we were discussing UK Government policy on Public Finances.

    You think it has been theological-to reduce the size of The State. I don’t and have provided evidence from GO’s actions.

    I have not sought for , and do not wish for a debate with you on the pros & cons of Deficit Reduction policy since 2010 because :-

    * AW doesn’t approve.
    * It would be inconclusive & a waste of effort.
    * It would bore everyone else to death.

  9. @Alec

    “May has already conceded that the transition period will be under existing rules and ‘structures’ in her Florence speech. Not many journalists have picked this up, but this is what she has proposed. We will remain within the EU, under the ECJ, and liable to any new regulations, throughout the transition phase, unless may changes her mind again.”

    No, I don’t think she has said this. She has spoken of a registration system for immigrants during the transition period. She has mentioned bringing forward, if possible, an arbitration system that does not involve the ECJ. Almost certainly the EU will not find either proposition acceptable


    @ ROGER MEXICO – at the start of my post I mentioned:
    From CON home:
    “the referendum result has caused a fall off of renewals from Remain-backing Tories”
    That is from the horse’s mouth so to speak!

    But you should always look a non-gift horse in the mouth and, I hate to break this to you, politicians are sometimes know to distort evidence to suit their own agenda.

    There probably have been some resignations and non-renewals from Remainer Tory members. A YouGov poll[2] from just after the Referendum:

    showed 36% of them as having voted that way which has now dropped to 32%. But that’s nothing like down to the 10% which you were suggesting. And if they really had lost a quarter of their membership as 10% would imply, we’d be hearing even more wails and moans.

    We’ve had some discussion on here about how the Party’s position on Brexit simply isn’t the most important thing to a lot of Labour voters[3] and they are more interested in the totality of policy. But, even though we know that Conservative voters considered Brexit more important than Labour ones, even for them it wasn’t overwhelming, not for every single one. So even there are still a lot of Tory Remainers, some will have changed their minds, but most will not, but are prepared to put up with some sort of Brexit for other reasons.

    Whether they will be quite as enthusiastic for the sort of “Throw a Hissy Fit and then Expect Everyone to do What We Want” Brexit that some seem to be proposing is another matter.

    [1] This probably also applies to the Conservative democracy campaigners in the Tribune piece. Despite their feeling that they were conned out of an election vote and the (very plausible) bad experience of the GE, they will have retained many of those who joined in 2016, if only because it is likely that some will have been vaguely active supporters who finally signed-up.

    [2] Unlike the most recent poll there seems to have been some weighting on this one, though I’m not sure where the targets came from and it doesn’t make much difference.

    [3] It’s interesting that there has been a great deal of discussion in the media about how Corbyn needs to do all sorts of things to make sure the 3.93 million (using Ashcroft estimate) Labour voters who also voted Leave are kept onside, there’s very little consideration of the equivalent 4.06 million Tory voters who voted for Remain.

  11. “You think it has been theological-to reduce the size of The State. I don’t and have provided evidence from GO’s actions.”


    Well you showed he extended Austerity, which isn’t quite the the same thing, but it has the virtue of being both accurate, and brief, so it should keep a lot of peeps happy!

  12. COLIN (from yesterday)

    Party Members want Boris-in my view a disastrous prospect against a popular & populist Labour opposition.

    I’m not sure they do want Boris. 23%[1] said they would pick him from the choice given, but then another 20% said he would make a very poor leader. It’s not exactly wholehearted.

    The thing is that Boris has been the most-widely touted next Tory leader for quite some time. Indeed since well before the last election when he chickened out of standing on the grounds that the YouGov polling showed he would lose to May:

    Significantly the one quality that May led Boris on by a vary large margin was “Would be best at uniting the Conservative party” (she also did as well with “Would be most prepared to take tough decisions”). I doubt Boris’s behaviour recently has increased the number of Tory MPs or members who see his as a universally respected, unifying figure.

    Boris had had 43% among members in February 2016 and May wasn’t even offered as a choice. Given that his position looks weaker and he seems a lot more tarnished than he was then, the likelihood is that another ‘Stop Boris’ candidate will arise and defeat will be even more ignominious. Even with the fawning support of his media chums (and the fact that some in the media would rather have the ridiculous Rees-Mogg as their Old Etonian of choice shows that Boris has lost friends even there) the members may no keener when (and if) a contest actually happens, than they were last year.

    [1] Interestingly Davis led in a YouGov members’ poll in July reported in the Guardian:
    possibly because Davidson wasn’t offered.

  13. trevor @ 6.03 pm

    You ask why would left-of-centre voters in Scotland not vote SNP in general elections.

    Well many of them are getting very tired of the current SNP government. Partly it`s the normal cycle of memories building up about unfortunate events and policies, and I have no doubt some are straight knock-on results of Tory austerity and their usual favouring of Southern England – but the SNP get blamed.

    But some bad things have happened due to self-inflicted wounds, especially the centralisation of fire and policing, plus associated control rooms. Then there`s over-ambitious schemes, like one-named person for child oversight.

    Yet at the same time there`s been SNP timidity to raise top rates of income tax and use the cash to allow public-sector staff to have pay rising in line with inflation. What a waste this has caused to the NHS, like a Grampian team now in Australia for three weeks trying to recruit doctors and nurses.

    Getting more Labour MPs from Scotland would have a much greater effect on the UK Labour party than having 40-odd SNP MPs in Westminster, and be much more likely to secure decent government across the whole UK.

  14. Davywel

    I wouldn’t particularly disagree with our comment about “normal cycle of memories building up about unfortunate events and policies” affecting the party of government (even if they aren’t actually in government in the place folk are being elected to!) Hence, some will choose to vote something else than SNP for Westminster – which has sod all to do with the decisions taken at Holyrood.

    But that’s how voters are. Most are unconcerned about the issues that seem to have exercised you – or the ones that haven’t. They make judgments based on overall impression.

    As to your “Getting more Labour MPs from Scotland would have a much greater effect on the UK Labour party than having 40-odd SNP MPs in Westminster” – that is a specific claim that some voters might agree with, and others strongly dispute.

    Like you (and unlike Trevor), I can see why some would vote SLab for Westminster, but I’d suggest it would be because of overall impression and not any calculation as to whether a Lab Government would be more likely to attend to Scottish interests if they were dependent on the votes of Scots MPs, rather than being able to command their loyalty.

    Opinions will vary. You have a view. I have a view. Lots of people will have one, but few would agree with Trevor’s idea that there is only one logical way for a Scots left-of-centre voter to cast their ballot.

  15. Davwel,

    Named person may have a small but vociferous opposition but most people actually support it.

    Pretty much every public inquiry, inquest and report into child abuse for decades has shown that poor communication and coordination has been part of the problem.

    So giving parents a single point of contact makes sense and most parents are supportive. that those opposed to it have the medias ear and treat it as if it’s the Spanish Inquisition is just something we need to live with.

    As to raising Tax… a 50% rate in Scotland is estimated to bring in about £100m, although some argue that as it only applies to about 18k taxpayers if more than 1)5 left or redivide their tax affairs to be none Scots residents we could actually lose Money.

    With 500k public sector workers if they average 20k each it would be a 2% rise in one year only with no increase in the level of care. I don’t 2% would make a huge increase in the standard of living nor have Doctors racing North of the Border, particularly as many would be on that higher rate of tax so might earn less.

    All the Opposition Parties have become adept and picking out any public grievance and calling on the SNP government to use it’s tax powers to make amends, but of course the cost of all the things they are asking for vastly out costs any realistic tax rise.

    It’s just Punch and Judy Politics.


  16. Personally, I think there will be a big chunk of Scottish voters attracted to Socialist Labour party – lots of them lost faith after Blair but not beyond possibility that Corbyn will be another kettle of plankton.

    We will see.

  17. NickP

    “Personally, I think”

    Some supporting evidence for your think might be worth posting. On this site – preferably opinion polling.

    I’ll see your “personal opinion” and raise you a Panelbase poll.

  18. Looks like a Yes vote in the referendum that Rajoy claims didn’t happen today.

    Broadcast from President of Catalonia says result isn’t public yet but he will bring a motion of independence to Catalan Parliament. (Tweet from an observer)

    Meanwhile BoJo supports the “strength and unity” of Spain and the Spanish constitution.

    Since all of those would be enhanced by ceding Gibraltar back to Spain, will BoJo be as good as his word? (Probably, since his words normally are rubbish).

  19. Fair comments from Oldnat and Peter.

    I especially agreed with Oldnat`s last paragraph, and reckon that SLab can gain or lose many votes by the way they conduct the leadership election and how the candidates push certain policiies.

    I ought to add that I am David Welch in disguise. I have looked in on UKPR more often these last few days because of the Spain developments, and wondering how people here will now be considering our UK devolution and independence prospects, But trying to put in comments under my old name ensured regular moderation.

  20. It’s ok David, doubt anyone will tell Anthony!

  21. Catalunya result

    Resultats escrutini QUART:
    %participació 54,4%
    Vots emesos 1397
    SI 1343 96,1%
    NO 32 0,02%
    NUL 5
    BLANC 17

    So, even assuming that every voter who didn’t come out and register a Yes vote, was registering a No vote (and not sh!t scared by Fascist violence) that’s 52% of the electorate voting for independence (what brexiteers call a huge majority).

    Well done Rajoy. The result may have been in doubt without your “brave” actions!

  22. oldnat

    Latest Yougov crossbreak has Lab in 2nd place to SNP – and not far behind either.

    Of course we should beware crossbreaks, but even so, it is actual polling evidence.

  23. NickP

    A geographic crossbreak? You do make me giggle.

    There was once a UKPR mantra “Don’t look at the Scottish crossbreaks!” It was there for a very good reason.

    If you don’t understand why, then have a look at Anthony’s FAQs about polling.

  24. “There was once a UKPR mantra “Don’t look at the Scottish crossbreaks!” It was there for a very good reason.”

    Wasn’t that long ago you gave an almost daily commentary on the Scottish crossbreaks. How things change.

  25. We did see during the great SNP post- referendum surge of 2014, That if the cross break changes are large enough, and over a sequence of polls, there’s probably summat going on.

  26. @Oldnat

    I’ve looked at the numbers, and you are quite right.

    The Catalan’s yes was 52%of the population, vs 37% for Brexit.

    If Brexit was a clear mandate, a Catalan Yes is over whelming.

  27. @ Old nat

    The more interesting question for me in Scotland is whether the election of Tory MPs this time will lead to more ABT tactical voting next time or whether the Tories are somehow now accepted in Scotland again having had no more than 1 seat at any election since 1992.

    Clearly something has changed if they are polling 10 plus points higher than the 15% they were mostly getting during that period but not enough if SNP and Lab voters make a choice to vote for whoever is sitting in 2nd place to the Tories.

  28. NickP

    “Almost daily”?? It was virtually daily! But that was at a time when YG were experimenting with weighting the Scottish crossbreak in Scottish terms, and not just as part of GB.

    At that time, it seemed worthwhile to test out the hypothesis that an average of those internally weighted crossbreaks would turn out to be accurate.

    You pick a single crossbreak (not internally weighted) from a single poll, and suggest that it has some significance?

  29. COLIN
    Actually I wrote: ” if that offers the transit countries a long-term programme of investment to achieve economic parity with the EU”. They include oil rich countries such as Libya. Development in the sub-suharan countries is a different kettle of fish

  30. I just took the latest one.

  31. I don’t see any significant improvement in Labour’s fortunes in Scotland while Scottish labour treat the SNP as the enemy. SLAB’s problem is that it still doesn’t understand how to behave in a multi party democracy, it’s not wise to attack parties that are mostly on your side of the argument. SLAB needs to concentrate it’s fire on the Tories on both sides of the border. The complication is that the UK has a different electoral system than Scotland and sometimes labour is in sole govt at Westminster. PR for the UK might help SLAB in Scotland.


    Thanks .

    There was a very interesting focus group on SP today-Final two for Leader-Rees Mogg & Davis-a 50/50 split !

  33. Well if you take the polls since April when election was called and look at the trend, Lab is still trending up, SNP down and Con starting down again too.

    Polls are only really any use for trend, aren’t they?

  34. Shevii

    Depending on which Scottish seat you look at (and assuming that it’s the “Anyone But” votes that will decide the election there (whether Westminster, Holyrood constituency or list – and it’s unsafe to assume that the same “AB” thinking necessarily applies in all three), there are lots of variations!

    ABS or G
    AB L or C or LD
    AB C or LD
    etc etc.

    We have a lot of marginal constituencies from the Westminster 2017 GE, once Unionists had sorted out who was the best ABS candidate (so Scotland’s MPs are a bit more fairly allocated than they were in 2015) but in a country where we have one party with 40%+ of the vote, and the next two stagnant around the 25% mark, it doesn’t make much sense to imagine a “Scottish” pattern of “AB” voting.

  35. “Polls are only really any use for trend, aren’t they?”


    Well it’s possible maybe Theresa called the election on the back of the trend…

  36. Oldnat

    What about the reports of people voting multiple times? The Spanish govt has achieved one thing, it’s difficult to say this was a well regulated election without irregularities. I expect the reports of irregularities will increase in the coming days, not saying that I will believe those reports

  37. @Princess Rachel

    Madrid will do everything it can to try to paint the result as flawed and therefore not valid.

    I fully expect a battery of allegations for sure.

  38. Nick P

    “Polls are only really any use for trend, aren’t they?”

    On that we can agree.

    Wiki doesn’t necessarily have every poll, so I’m not suggesting that these two lists of polls are exhaustively inclusive, but

    has the single Westminster poll that I mentioned above while for Holyrood

    the pattern of SNP having double digit leads over the 2 main Unionist parties is maintained.

    At this stage of the electoral cycle, I suspect that there won’t be that much difference between Holyrood and Westminster VI, as it is probably based on overall impression of parties, rather than on choosing a government.

  39. Shevii:

    Yes, “clearly something has changed” to make the Tories more popular in Scotland.

    But picking out one factor as the cause is as difficult as answering your next question on whether having more Tory MPs now will lead to a resurgence in ABT voting here.

    My feeling is that the ABT sentiment is much controlled by the behaviour and speech tones of Tory leaders at Westminster. And David Cameron was much less harsh in tone to Scots 2010 onwards than was Margaret Thatcher. So despite DC allowing George Osborne to have a senseless exaggerated austerity that has done great damage to the Scottish voters, he was not as unpopular as MT, due to her stupid poll tax and its deliberate early imposition on Scotland.

    But the gains in Tory votes in Scotland from 2011 to 2016 are likely to be thrown away by Teresa May`s hard brexit and the insidious stupidity of EVEL.

    I find it so ironic that 14% of Tory members back Ruth Davidson as party leader, when many of them pushed for EVEL, which had a main intention of preventing any MP from Scotland becoming PM. Having cake and eating it??

    I wonder if in Spain there is a similar restriction on the voting powers of Catalonia MPs.

  40. Hi

    Survation did a Scottish poll in September but missed off the Westminster VI from the published tables. The published tables now have the Westminster VI. I don’t know if this has been commented on before?

    Con 26.1
    Lab 26.4
    SNP 39.3
    LD 6.6

  41. DavWel

    “I wonder if in Spain there is a similar restriction on the voting powers of Catalonia MPs.”


    For all it’s obvious faults, Spain has a Federal system. Only the UK would be so foolish as to have a single Parliament that doubled up as the domestic legislature of its dominant part, while also allowing it to be the legislature for the whole of the multi-national state on powers that it chose to reserve to itself (and which it will doubtless extend).

    Whether Catalunya has any Parliament at all within facist Spain, or any MPS in the Spanish Federal Parliament (whether or not it becomes independent) remains to be seen.

    The “constitution” is a flexible commodity, not just here where it is uncodified and Westminster can largely make up the rules as it goes along, but in fascist countries too.

  42. Frosty

    Thanks. I thought there might have been another one – but the recent habit of pollsters and their media clients of splitting polls into little chunks to get more bang for their buck makes it hard to keep track.

  43. “Catalunya result

    Resultats escrutini QUART:
    %participació 54,4%
    Vots emesos 1397
    SI 1343 96,1%
    NO 32 0,02%
    NUL 5
    BLANC 17

    So, even assuming that every voter who didn’t come out and register a Yes vote, was registering a No vote (and not sh!t scared by Fascist violence) that’s 52% of the electorate voting for independence (what brexiteers call a huge majority).”

    Surely that is just one polling district! 1397 votes in total by my reading! Makes a Scottish crossbreak look like the acme of reliability!

  44. Here is a result from Calella

    46.7% turnout and 85% yes. Electorate 12798

    But as Rachel says, an election where voters are encouraged to print their own ballot paper and take it to any polling station they like is hardly likely to be viewed as reliable.

  45. oldnat

    whilst i agree with the general sentiment towards catalonia there is a general habit in this country of ours to favour the underdog which catalonia is in our view.
    however, i think it is a little extreme to call the madrid government fascists. Misguided perhaps and wrong in their approach but we ought to context it within their history.
    I hope Rahoy claims victory and then makes real concessions to them.the catalans i know are a bright and optimistic people not given
    to public violence and excesses unlike some nations who seek independence.

  46. Trying yo figure out where we are in Scotland is never easy.

    Firstly the lack of regular polls means you have to start with crossbreeds and look for consistent differences that are large enough to mean something and trends.

    So for instance Tory members in Scotland seem less keen on Boris than the UK tories in general and it could also perhaps be that the overwhelming choice of scots Tories for Davidson is distorting her overall popularity.

    Equally what we can learn from trends on crossbreeds seems to suggest that the SNP are anywhere between 35-40% and the tories and labour somewhere between 20-30 % each.

    That means it’s anyones guess for Westminster as depending on the final result the SNP seat total is roughly in the range 5-45 seats….

    For Holyrood it suggest that the SNP is safely the largest party but likely not to get a majority and might struggle to govern even with green support while with current Libdem support round about 10% that neither the Tories or Labour
    can form a Government.

    It’s no surprise that some in Holyrood are now talking about a Holyrood CDU/SPD type grand coalition between Labour and the SNP.

    we just have to make guesstimates as best we can with the data we have…or we could do what TOH does with Brexit and cut open goats on an alllotment.



    those results do look fairly typical, but the key thing will be whether the police managed to suppress turnout in Barcelona

  48. Peter

    “Firstly the lack of regular polls means you have to start with crossbreeds and look for consistent differences that are large enough to mean something and trends.”

    Do you mean not “true Scots”??

  49. For once I agree with S Thomas that calling the modern day Madrid government “fascist” is unwise and so far quite inappropriate.

    They have behaved very stupidly however

  50. Andrew111

    Good spot!

    Of course, the Spanish Nationalists are entirely to blame for any “unreliability” in the results.

    Not that it greatly matters, since they wouldn’t accept the result if it didn’t result in a win for Spanish nationalism in any case!

    If they have doubts, then it’s easy enough for them to allow another referendum where they allow a free democratic choice by the people of Catalunya – Fat chance of that!

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