By Tim Montgomerie
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Borismania hits a new peak today with a Sun/ YouGov opinion poll suggesting that the Tories might be more competitive if he was Conservative leader:
"Labour’s current poll lead would be slashed to one point if Boris was Conservative leader. It revealed 34 per cent of people would vote for a Cameron-led Tory party, while 40 per cent would vote for Ed Miliband’s Labour. But if Boris was leader, support for the Tories would rise to 37 per cent, while Labour’s would fall to 38 per cent."
Earlier in the week we found that Cameron remained the strong favourite of Tory members to lead the party into the next election. Although Boris Johnson is Tory members' favourite to be the next leader once Cameron has stepped aside the Prime Minister enjoys a three-to-one advantage over the Mayor of London for now.
Overall Tory members are not excited about changing the leader. Last week we asked party members to rate 23 ideas for winning the next election. On a scale of minus five to plus five (where plus five equals very helpful to Tory election chances) the idea of Boris becoming Tory leader was seen as marginally helpful. It got a score of +0.53 compared to +0.51 for installing William Hague as leader. Although this was a positive number it received a weaker response than the suggestion that there should be "greater party unity and loyalty to David Cameron", which got a +1.69 score.
The idea of changing leader to Boris came very low in the overall list of 23 ideas, ranking number 20. In a series of posts over coming days we will examine the ratings for the other ideas which were seen as much more likely to improve the Tory standing.