Above are the net satisfaction ratings for the Cabinet (plus Boris) among party members who took part in our March survey. A few observations, as usual:
- A bump for IDS: The change at the top hasn’t happened because George Osborne has slipped (his rating only change by one point) but because Iain Duncan Smith has enjoyed a bump of nearly five points from last month. That returns the Work and Pensions Secretary not only to the top of the table but to the level of approval he held before Christmas.
- Jostling in the upper-mid-table: A pack seems to be developing around the 60 mark – May, Javid, Cameron, Hague, Hunt and Gove are all with five points of each other, and exchanging positions on the table on a regular basis.
- A rally for May: As Peter Hoskin noted last month, Theresa May’s rating has seen a steady decline since the summer, and she’s fallen for three months running in the future leader stakes. But this month her cabinet approval rating has risen by 4.6 points. A rise in Cabinet rating while a fall in future leader rating would suggest it might be something specifically related to her job – perhaps the question of domestic extremism is rallying some party members in her support?
- Stabilising Fallon: After shedding 15 points in three months, the Defence Secretary’s rating appears to have stabilised (for now, at least). It remains somewhat mysterious as to what exactly drove his decline – or what has stopped it.
- Francis Maude’s retirement bonus: Following his announcement that he won’t be standing again for the Commons in May, Francis Maude has been handed a seven point lift by party members. I’d like to think that’s a nice send-off, rather than a gesture of approval for his decision to leave the green benches.