Our latest Cabinet league table is above. It’s a particularly buoyant set of numbers. 21 of the 33 names in the table have improved their tallies from last month – and some significantly so. Iain Duncan Smith is one of the main beneficiaries, climbing above Michael Gove to reclaim the top spot. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the more swashbuckling stance the Work and Pensions Secretary adopted in January.
But the main story from this month’s table – at least to my eyes – belongs to the man in second-place. George Osborne now has a satisfaction rating of 80 among Tory members. Less than a year ago, as this graph shows, it was 17:
That’s probably the most marked rise we’ve ever seen in our polling, and I suspect it can be put down to one thing above all others: economic recovery.
But before the Chancellor gets giddy with delight, it’s worth noting that there’s a yawning divide between these numbers and our leadership polling. Only six per cent of Tory members want him to lead the party after David Cameron. That’s far behind Theresa May and Boris, who are hovering around the 22-23 per cent mark. And it’s also behind Gove, William Hague and David Davis.
What explains this difference? We may have to do some further polling to reach firmer conclusions. But I’d guess that one factor is Osborne’s proximity to Cameron. They’ve been part of the same political project for so long that folk find it hard to see Osborne as a change.