Last year, our editor noted how YouGov’s professionally-conducted poll of Conservative Party members mirrored the results of our own monthly members’ panel to a remarkable extent.
Almost exactly a year on the company have once again commissioned a poll of party members on the current and future leadership of the party – and once again, there isn’t much to put between the two.
Take the five ‘run-offs’ we included in our last survey, each asking respondents to choose between to possible candidates for the leadership to simulate the final choice offered to members under the current rules. We found: Gove beating Johnson; Javid beating Hunt; Johnson beating Hunt; Javid beating Johnson; and Gove beating Hunt.
YouGov’s comparison of the different candidates was conducted differently. They added Ruth Davidson, Penny Mordaunt, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Gavin Williamson to the mix, and seem to have compared overall scores to get their ranking rather than polling specific two-way contests. But even so, all five of our headline head-to-head findings are mirrored in YouGov’s results.
Where we can get into the numbers is on the question of when Theresa May should step aside. We revealed earlier this month that the share of members believing she should stand down before the next general election had hit a “record high” of 72 per cent, including just over 21 per cent who want her to go immediately.
This is very close to YouGov’s own figures, which find a total of 67 per cent of members wanting a change of Prime Minister before the general election – including 20 per cent who want a leadership contest at once.
As we noted previously, polling a small population such as the Conservative membership throws up challenges which blunt many of the advantages enjoyed by traditional, scientific polling. However, that our survey and YouGov’s poll have arrived at such similar results, and by different methods, suggests that we can be more confident in the findings of both.