Whatever the facts may be, there is no doubt about Party members’ views at present. Our future leader survey last month took place in the middle of “her worst week as Home Secretary” (“The second loss of a child abuse enquiry Chairman. A backbench backlash over the European Arrest Warrant.”) Yet it saw her back as their top choice for leader.
That poll took place before the vote on the EAW – a fiasco in which she was implicated. Yet her support this month is up by five points. She leads Boris Johnson – as usual this year her nearest rival – by a full 11 points. What’s happening?
I have no explanation that hasn’t been offered before – the Home Secretary’s evident grown-upness; a lack of convincing competitors; the Mayor of London being out of the news (when he’s in it, his ratings tend to rise).
Some further points worth noting:
- George Osborne is up to third. His total rose three points from 10 to 13 points – which is also where he was three months ago when he also reached the same position. This is margin-of-error stuff, but doubtless reflects a benign view among Party members of the Autumn Statement.
- Owen Paterson rises to fourth – from 6 to 9 per cent. Again, this is less startling than it looks, but is surely a reflection of the detailed plan for Brexit that he has set out since the last survey. The former Environment Secretary is making a pitch as a right-wing standard bearer.
- Michael Gove is down to sixth (a knock-on from the Rochester and Strood by-election?), Sajid Javid’s ratings and position at fifth is almost unchanged…and David Davis is still third among website respondents as a whole (as opposed to party member respondents).
Here are the scores in full:
Theresa May: 29 per cent (up four points).
Boris Johnson: 18 per cent (down four points).
George Osborne: 13 per cent (up three points).
Owen Paterson: 9 per cent (up three points).*
Sajid Javid: 9 per cent (no change).*
Michael Gove: 7 per cent (down four points).
David Davis: 6 per cent (down two points).
Philip Hammond: 4 per cent (down one point).
Jeremy Hunt: 2 per cent (no change).+
Liam Fox: 2 per cent (no change).+
Chris Grayling: 1 per cent (no change).
* 8.6 to 8.5 per cent (on our scoring 8.0-8.4 counts as 8, 8.5-8.9 as 9).
+ 2.4 to 2.2 per cent.
And the choice lead the Party into the next election? David Cameron…backed by 78 per cent of respondents, the same total as last month.
Over 800 party member respondents replied to the survey. The results are tested against a control panel that was supplied by YouGov.