Before I start analysing the graph above, a bit of explanatory preamble:
- Alongside our usual question about the next leader of the Conservative Party, we’ve been asking our readers who they’d like to see leading the party at the next election since last May. So, the graph above shows all the results we’ve got in. There are none for July last year because no survey was sent out then.
- The graph shows the monthly “top five”, although we do poll on more names than that. There are actually six names in the graph because the composition of that top five has changed from survey to survey.
- David Cameron’s numbers are plotted against the left-hand axis. Everyone else’s numbers are plotted against the right-hand axis. This is so that the lowlier lines aren’t all shmushed together and unreadable.
Anyway, enough of that: I won’t mention it again when we report on these numbers in future. Here’s the promised analysis, by way of three things that stood out to my eyes:
- Cameron rising. In this month’s survey, a record 73 per cent of Tory members gave their backing to Cameron to lead the party into the next election. Last May, it was only 55 per cent. Whether that’s out of resignation or because of genuinely warmer attitudes towards the Prime Minister, it’s hard to say. But it does seem that Tory members are becoming more loyal as the election draws closer.
- May’s time isn’t now. When we started polling, Theresa May wasn’t even in the top five. Now she’s fourth, with 3.8 per cent of the vote. How does that fit in with our other polling, showing that May is now the most popular option to be the next Tory leader? Perhaps party members regard her as the best option to lead the party in the long-term, but not to win the next election. Hence why both Boris and David Davis outperform her in the graph above.
- Whither Hague? Of course, with Cameron’s numbers rising, almost all of the other names are on a downwards trend. In terms of pure numbers, Davis’s decline is the greatest: he’s shed 7.8 percentage points since last May. But, in terms of position, Hague’s decline is noteworthy, too: he’s gone from fourth to now being consistently outside the top five. Michael Gove is the man who’s overtaken him.