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. I’m not bothered at all about migration, but I am bothered about surviving, and am a bit of a survivalist/ John Seymour type self sufficiency nerd.

    In 1975 John Mellanby worked out that we could feed the whole nation if we converted to non meat eating (in a crisis). Since then we have had enormous population growth and lost 10% of our arable land.

    We now import over 40% of our food.

    While I voted remain I have a huge concern over the whole idea that we need to keep growing our population to sustain economic growth. I don’t see any of the major parties have a policy on this.

  2. Limiting EU immigration or implementing a one child policy is madness. It won’t solve any living space issues. Would you limit people working and living in London?

  3. Lets be blunt-the Leavest place on the map ( 75.6%) -Boston Lincs weren’t worried about Greenfields-they have lots.

    The effects of rapid change of that sort, without consultation , or even understanding have to be addressed.-without using the R word.-that’s the trick.

    Ask Margaret Hodge why Barking was yellow ( 62.4% Leave) -She’s Labour so can’t be Racist-but there’s the B word-that’s another Get Out Of Talking About Immigration Card.

  4. @Oldnat,

    I think you misunderstood the meaning of my expression “whatever device”. I didn’t mean “any conceivable device, from mass deportation to the release of anthrax into the water supply”. I meant whatever compromise the EU and UK might come up with as a sop (picking something out of the air, requiring migrants to register, attend an interview at a UK consulate and wait 7 days before travelling to the UK). That kind of “whatever”.


    That would be a decision for the British people, through their representatives.

    In general I want sustainable stocks, with measures to protect smaller businesses, but balanced against efficiency/profitability. But it’s not up to me.

    I don’t buy this assumption that the EU are angels and a future UK government would be Tory devils so we need the former to protect us from the latter. We get to choose. If the public want to denude our seas of all life, they’ll get the chance to do it, just as if the EU wanted to denude our seas they currently can.

  5. @ MoG

    It cost me two hankies to wipe the red wine from the screen reading your comment.

    @ CMJ

    You are right about the car parts supply chain, but with a little bit of constraint. What you wrote is true for the catalogue components, but necessarily for the non-catalogue components

    Overall, the component manufacturers are not particularly anxious. Although they expect to take a little hit on the margins.

  6. Not necessarily for the non-catalogue components (the “not” vanished)

  7. Corbyn’s Momentum meeting in front of SOAS this evening ;in front of a few dozen students was quite extraordinary.

    Country in bits. No PM. His Party at War-and he’s telling the Undergrad faithful we have to build a sustainable way of living.


    ………..that woman with the green hair was standing behind him again-same as at the Parliament Square Momentum Rent a Crowd thing……….I wonder who these people pulling his strings are ?

  8. @Tancred

    Presumably if you believe limiting migration wouldn’t solve any housing issues, you also believe that increasing migration wouldn’t cause any additional housing issues? Or does your logic only work in one direction?


    I think it is possible to mourn the loss of green space even when you still have quite a lot of it left. But yes I think Boston is a special case and the issues there are a more traditional case of “fear of loss of identity” due to a very high percentage of foreigners arriving in a short period of time. Having grown up in North London I’m not especially bothered by that sort of thing.

    I don’t pretend that my motives for voting Leave are in any way representative of the rest of the 52%.

  9. @ Colin

    If it (what you wrote in a vey condensed way) could properly cascaded, detailed to the level where actionable policies could be made – yes, that would be great.

    (Without criticism – I have met racist Labour folks. Including MPs)

  10. Recruited a few new members into the ranks this evening. The Eagle soars.

  11. Times/YouGov Tory members polls gives Theresa May a 17% lead over Boris. 55% to 38% (via TSE)


    Cheers – not quite sure how that conclusion can be drawn when even lower classes can expect to live to 74/78 (M/F) which is in the upper age bracket but thanks anyway

  13. @Colin
    The brigthtly coloured hair is a bad sign indeed for Labour electability, if Corbers holds on.

  14. @ Mr Nameless

    She might have to find a Leeds constituency then – the anger is palpable around here in the constituency LPs.

  15. OLDNAT

    Good news.

  16. @Bardin1
    ‘While I voted remain I have a huge concern over the whole idea that we need to keep growing our population to sustain economic growth. I don’t see any of the major parties have a policy on this’

    I would go a touch further: leaving aside that recent economic growth has not provided any (or at least much) economic benefit because there has been close to zero growth per head, I am actually commencing to wonder whether we should be targeting growth at all.

    I live in a crowded area of the country (W London) and whilst there are quite extensive green spaces all around me and the delights of rivers and canals, the actual urban space is getting more and more intensively developed and people really really don’t like it (though they are happy to live in the resulting flats, for a while at least). Whilst this development is driven largely by developers’ profit motive (and fed by demand from all sorts of angles) it is also in government’s interests to drive it because it creates GDP, employment, tax revenue etc. All these are seen as goodness and everyone is scrabbling for their share. Incidentally this also squeezes out traditional employment – a block of flats is worth a lot more than a shop, office or factory and recent planning changes have made this windfall for landowners much easier to access.

    Meanwhile, is anybody much happinated by growth: it’s a bit different to how it was in my parents’ day when most people didn’t have a television, car, washing machine, central heating, even bathroom. When I first lived independently I remember saving up No 6 coupons to get a toaster – you can now get them for about £4, the price of a pint round here.

    Unlike some, I’m definitely getting more left wing or even green as I grow older, but then I always was an awkward b*gger

    Farage’s goose may be cooked and immigration is bound to be a top subject for UKIP. I notice their immigration spokesman is Steven Woolfe, so I expect him to stand
    The Lib Dems will have to do with a (Norman) Lamb and a (Caroline) Pidgeon. Not very promising material to put up against Foxes, Eagles and Woolves

  17. Labour really are desperate if it’s only Angela Eagle challenging Corbyn, though I admit the cupboard is rather bare.

    She broke down in tears in a TV interview the other day. What’s she going to do when Putin starts sabre-rattling? Mind you, what’d Corbyn do? Probably invite the tanks to roll in.

  18. guymonde

    I’m with you in all that, in fact I am not only with you but near you as I live in south west london

  19. @Neil A

    well, conventionally, it’s handy to have summat different about your product to have some competitive advantage. And then your rivals can come up with regs that focus on those aspects. Like focusing on diesel emissions…

    looking at the way you’re thinking!, you’re going, ok, they raise the bar on diesel, but so what, doesn’t the same apply to US diesels?

    Not really, if the local manufacturers aren’t much cop at diesel. They wouldn’t want to have to compete against VW on one of VW’s strengths. They would rather make diesel onerous, so that the competition shifts over to petrol cars.

    An extreme version would be what happened to Concorde. Can’t compete on supersonic flight? Fine, then rack up the burdens on supersonic flight and compete on subsonic instead…

  20. Colin

    As you know, I’m no great fan of the Tories ….

    But some, I simply disagree with, while others …….

    So I agree with you.

  21. @ Neil A

    “How is it easier to comply with something “embedded in your domestic system”? Do you mean that UK standards might be different to EU ones? Isn’t that up to the UK?”

    What I mean is that the system of compliance arrangements – ie the processes by which compliance is proved – are embedded in the UK and so are believed by the motor manufacturers to be easier to manage.

    On your second point, ability to influence regulations may not be important to you, but in a poll of members carried out but the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (77% remain, 9% Brexit) the three biggest issues cited were access to market 66%, access to skills 55% and influence of over EU regulations 52%.

    Great you feel the EU won’t game the system. However, I’m sure just like the US and China it will act in its own best interests.

    I think talk of a trade war is absurd – there is no way the UK could flourish in such circumstances.

  22. @oldnat

    The “four freedoms” give precisely zero wiggle room:

    So it would seem. Looking at the work one, however, it seems on the face of it to be ;movement of labour’ rather than movement per se. Jobs have to be open to people of other countries and you are not allowed to discriminate against them. However, it is not obvious to me that you have to let in people who do not have a job. I suspect, however, that there is a lot of case law, directives etc that in effect turns the right to move to another country for a job into the right to move to another country. Can you elucidate further.

  23. @Neil A
    The two groups worried about immigration I refered to were not meant to be exhaustive and of course there are genuinely sensible reasons for thinking immigration should not be overwhelming. I was simply making the point that accepting free movement is politically possible given that 48% already accept it. If it’s forests and space you are concerned about there’s loads in Scotland, but we have some work to do on that. How do we apologise to Scotland having teased all summer about the Euros.

  24. Another blog discussion reported 2 hours ago on a YouGov poll on various possible post-Brexit deals, with strong support for ‘trade only’. Anyone got a link?
    Why are we discussing politics if there is a new relevant poll, especially a YouGov poll? Or have I missed something being out at a meeting all evening?

  25. @NEIL A

    All I’m saying is that solving the housing crisis can only happen by building enough dwellings. As for population density, this is due to many factors, such as less emigration than before. In the past many people left for places like Australia, Canada, etc, whereas now it’s less. Also, middle class people seem to be having a lot more children than for many years – my thirty-something neighbours have produced three sprogs in rapid succession in the last few years – thankfully I have detached house.

  26. @OLDNAT

    Great news about Theresa May. She would be many times better than Boris as a leader – my only concern is the management of her diabetes may cause some issues.

  27. OLDNAT
    Times/YouGov Tory members polls gives Theresa May a 17% lead over Boris. 55% to 38% (via TSE)

    A pity. May is competent and might heal some of the wounds, leaving Boris as a successor with an unmerited Get Out of Jail Free card.

    Congrats on making the first post on topic for about 10 pages, though.

  28. @ Marmaduke

    Sorry if this is pointing out the blindingly obvious, but life expectancies are future predictions. You could also try examining the population differentials by age segmentation and class for the present cohort. Added to this, you would need to look at whether there were geographical differences in how C2DEs fair.

    Hope that keeps you busy – sure there’s a PhD in it.

    Coming back to my initial post, I suggested this as one of a number of possible explanations – and also posted a link to the contrary view that people do actually become more Conservative with age.

    You pays your money you makes your choice.

  29. So yougov poll shows a majority still backing brexit, and then further still trade only, this despite wall to wall coverage by bbc and media fighting for remain sympathy. Wow! the masses cannot be controlled…

  30. Charles

    I think you need to look at the full text of what I linked to, and then at the associated documentation – though you’ll need to search for that yourself.

  31. @Colin

    “Corbyn’s Momentum meeting in front of SOAS this evening ;in front of a few dozen students was quite extraordinary.
    Country in bits. No PM. His Party at War-and he’s telling the Undergrad faithful we have to build a sustainable way of living.”


    Literally on the steps of a student union and SOAS at that (where they have sit ins to complain at library fines).

    The full glory was recorded by, appropriately enough, a student magazine. See it all its glory from 1hr10

    The warm up acts are something to behold too…

  32. @ CMJ & Laszlo

    It is my understanding that it is the car assemblers – which is what were talking about in the main that are concerned about compliance issues.

    Though the poll of SMMT members I quoted earlier did include large and small members.

  33. @Charles,

    I suppose the UK could have a rule that job offers must be preceded by three face-to-face interviews, in English, spaced over six weeks…

  34. @COLIN

    The high leave vote in Lincolnshire is simply due to the fear and misunderstanding of the foreigner – simple as that. I wouldn’t use the word racism because it’s too strong; I think it’s more resentment of foreigners bringing their own culture to the area, opening shops etc. In the Italian region of South Tyrol, which is German speaking, as a former part of Austria until 1918, there has been a long running clash of cultures between the ethnic Germans and the Italians who settled there after WW1. The matter is still not resolved even now, as most of the population would definitely vote to join with Austria in a referendum. This is what happens when different cultural and linguistic groups are forced to live together.

  35. @RICH

    Give it one year with still no article 50 invoked and it would be interesting to see whether opinion has changed.

  36. OT but want to know,

    Can a Labour Leader be deselected by their constituency party?

  37. @Colin – I can’t believe the momentum people think they are leading Labour to anywhere but oblivion. It’s incredible to watch, and heartbreaking really, even for a non Labour supporter.

  38. 1000th

  39. Rich

    So the public don’t understand economics or basic international politics.

    They were sold a moon on a stick but only got the stick.

  40. 40% of Tory party members are prepared to accept free movement of EU citizens in Brexit deal; 53% are not. YouGov

    56% of Tory Leavers support Johnson : 84% of Remainers support May

  41. Assiduosity
    Watching (part of) that clip took me back. We had d*ckheads like that when I was at college too. I wonder what happened to them all? They’d be my age now, and we’re all supposed to be reactionary conservatives.

  42. @alec




    near the foot of page 21??


  43. “They were sold a moon on a stick but only got the stick.”


    might be a bit of a vague on the stick…

  44. If Eagle is appointed then deselected it would be rather funny.

  45. Neil A: “That would be a decision for the British people, through their representatives.”

    Well, that’s a surprisingly sanguine reaction to the prospect of environmental armageddon from someone who I thought had elevated the preservation of England’s green and pleasant land into a guiding principle of personal politics.

    Surely you can’t be saying, “I’d rather see England concreted over by Brits than preserved by Johnny Foreigner”?

  46. surprised nobody is posting the May responses on the new thread

  47. @ Rich

    “So yougov poll shows a majority still backing brexit, and then further still trade only, this despite wall to wall coverage by bbc and media fighting for remain sympathy. Wow! the masses cannot be controlled…”

    Sorry, which poll are you looking at?

    Is it this one?

    Agreed, only 27% want to reverse and return to EU membership. However a further 19% want a full EEA option, with freedom of movement.

    That’s a total of 46%

    On the other side we have 10% for ‘nothing to do with the EU’ and 32% want trade only.

    That’s a total of 42%.

    Hmmm. When it’s pointed out that EEA and freedom of movement is all of the obligations with no additional advantages, I wonder how the popularity of that option will work out?

    It seems to me we still are where we were a week ago – a split country.

    Also, if things turn out as badly for the UK as this particularly pessimistic crowd think – look at the numbers on economy worse (52%), prices and taxes up (71% and 55%) and jobs more insecure (47%), then I wonder what those figures will look like.

    I wonder why the ‘buyer’s remorse’ question was not asked, or if it was, why the result was not published.

  48. In a divided country you need strong leadership to steer the country in the right direction, and that is precisely what we don’t have at this moment in time.


    The way I view this poll is that 46% are basically remainers, given that EEA is nothing more than EU-lite. Higher than the 42% of anti-EU opinion.

  50. @Barbazenzero

    “surprised nobody is posting the May responses on the new thread”


    we like to save the new thread for other things, anything new that crops up, etc.

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