Last month, George Osborne soared into the lead into our monthly future Party leader survey, moving up from 22 per cent to 31 per cent. This was the first time this poll has found any of the possible candidates in the 30s since Theresa May, having got there in June 2014, stayed there the following month.
This month, his share of the vote pushes up slightly to 33 per cent. Sajid Javid is still second, with his score more or less unchanged on 18 per cent (it was 19 per cent last month). Theresa May’s score is essentially static, too, up from 13 per cent to 15 per cent.
However, she is up to third – partly because Boris Johnson’s rating has fallen from 17 per cent to 12 per cent. The London Mayor’s last five percentage ratings have been 27 (pre-election), 21, 23, 17 and now 12, his lowest finding in the survey to date.
I wouldn’t say his figure is in freefall, but it is falling – the trend is unmistakably downwards. Indeed, he is now fifth, just a whisker behind Liam Fox, who is on 13 per cent. I think Fox is scooping up all the vote of the unreconciled Right, which may see other candidates enter the field in the real poll.
All in all, the survey seems to be settling down to a post-election norm, with May, Fox and Johnson tucked in behind Javid, and Osborne well ahead of all of them. He is beginning to look like the front-runner – which, as he will know well, has not been the best position for past contenders to occupy.
The usual warning remarks apply. Although a leadership election could be taking place this time next year, there is an EU referendum to get through first, and much can change. By the way, if you lump our non-Party member readers’ view into the poll, Osborne edges up slightly to 35 per cent.
Here are the scores in full:
George Osborne: 33 per cent (up two points).
Sajid Javid: 18 per cent (down one point).
Theresa May: 15 per cent (up two points).
Liam Fox: 13 per cent (down one point)
Boris Johnson: 12 per cent (down five points)
Michael Gove: 5 per cent (no change).
Jeremy Hunt: 3 per cent (up one point)
Nicky Morgan: 1 per cent (no change).
Footnote: a significant slice of Party member respondents evidently don’t think we should be asking this question at all – 93 of them in this poll. But they were outnumbered by the 842 who responded.