The yearning for a new generation of Conservative MPs to provide the next Tory leader, so evident in our last survey of Party members, hasn’t tailed off this month – far from it.
The findings of our new version of the survey largely mimic the old one. Thirty per cent of Party member respondents opted for “Other” last month. This month, that total climbs to over a third of those who answered the question, 34 per cent.
And as that category rises by four per cent, David Davis’s backing falls by the same amount. He still leads the pack of potential contenders, but drops from 24 per cent to 20 per cent.
Boris Johnson is down from 19 per cent to nine per cent – his lowest rating since the survey began, as far as we can see. But his plight is not unique. No other Cabinet member bar Davis gets into double figures.
However, there are two non-Cabinet members to keep an eye on. One of them is a Minister of State, Dominic Raab. He is third in the survey in his first outing since before the 2015 election. His score is below ten per cent, but he looks like one to watch.
The other non-Cabinet member isn’t in the Goverment at all. Indeed, he isn’t in our survey either, because he recently ruled himself out as a contender in an interview with Andrew Gimson for this site.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was written in under the “Other” category as the choice of 142 respondents. If he had been in the survey, he would have come second, sweeping the Foreign Secretary aside.
The Mogg phenomenon is well worth an article in itself – I have had a go in the Times this morning – but three points must do for the moment. First, mock the finding if you dare. He was third in a recent YouGov poll that mirrored our last monthly survey findings closely.
Finally, Rees-Mogg and Raab are all of a piece – strange as that may sound to those who know them. Together with “Other”, they represent a longing for a break with the past, as set out in this selection of write-in comments in the “Other” category.
“A new face and moderniser is needed”…”From next generation”…”Fresh face from 2010 or 2015 intake”…”skip a generation but no idea who it should be”…
…”Someone yet to emerge”…”None of the above – someone new and fresh”…”Someone from the 2010/15 intake”…”Anyone under 50″…”We need to see some different faces”…
You get the drift. Which leads you to ask: what about Ruth Davidson? Twenty-seven respondents wrote her name in under “other”. So does that lowly total, compared to Rees-Mogg’s, sound a raspberry to modernisation?
That’s another question that requires a piece of its own. But my guess is that the write-in answers show little more than that Party members know that Davidson is ineligible and don’t know that Rees-Mogg won’t stand – or don’t care. But yours is as good as mine.
P.S: The rationale for our choice of possible candidates was set out here. Eleven people are named above. We could have thrown in 15 others. We would like the list to stay as stable as possible…but this could prove difficult for obvious reasons.