This was our last survey before this week’s Party Conference, and as we might expect there generally hasn’t been any dramatic shift in members’ assessments of the Cabinet since last month, suggesting that we have a good base of settled opinion by which to judge the impact of Conference season.
Nonetheless, there are a few points worthy of note:
- Theresa May dropped nine points, from 90.5 to 81.5. This is still a high score and leaves her comfortably ahead of her nearest Cabinet colleague, but it remains to be seen whether this movement will be reversed, or accentuated, by her Conference performance.
- Philip Hammond is back! Last month, our headline finding was a slump in opinion of the Chancellor, as he dropped a full 20 points and slipped to seventh place. He’s put 12 points back on and is now back in second place. Perhaps suggestions that he is resisting some of May’s more left-leaning ideas in Cabinet have gone some way to compensate for his advocacy of the single market.
- Amber Rudd falls from 11th to 23rd position after shedding 14 points – and this before her controversial Conference announcement of plans to make companies register their foreign workers. In a month where the Home Office’s Child Abuse Inquiry continued to fall apart, could her predecessor’s legacy at the Home Office be bogging her down?
- Further down her table, Liz Truss drops 11 points and ends up bottom of the table. Is this a one-off artefact of the poll, or has the Justice Secretary really had a bad month? We’ll find out in November.
- Ruth Davidson’s popularity climbs yet again, up two points to 93.6. It looks like this phenomenal level of popularity was no one-off result, and the Scottish Conservative leader has been firmly enthroned as darling of the grassroots. Can it go yet higher after her conference performance?