In over ten years of surveying the top Conservative team, we have never seen anything like it.
Every single Cabinet member named in our last survey is down. Yes, that’s right. The whole lot of them. (There have been two changes since it was published: Dominic Raab and Geoffrey Cox have entered the Cabinet. Both their ratings are lower than their predecessors, David Davis and Jeremy Wright.)
Under the circumstances, Sajid Javid does very well indeed to get to 67 per cent, and top the table. But his rating is down from 75 per cent last month. Michael Gove, who was second on 73 per cent, plunges to 39 per cent. That he is fourth despite this dismal score is a measure of how low this Cabinet is currently rated. Penny Mordaunt, who was third on 62 per cent, drops to 50 per cent. That she rises to second is another measure of the thumbs-down given to her colleagues. And so on. When ratings come in this low, places in the table scarcely matter.
The bottom of the chart is a turkey shoot. Julian Smith falls heavily into negative territory after the Brandon Lewis pairing row. Lewis himself, who last month was in the top ten with 47 per cent, drops through the floor to minus three per cent. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is paying the penalty for CCHQ’s institutional support for the Cabinet Chequers agreement and the Brexit White Paper. As for the Prime Minister herself, she is at her lowest rating ever – the best part of – 50 per cent.
Number Ten and CCHQ must hope that this is summer lightning, that the discontent of Party members cools when autumn comes, and that our panel is then willing to give the new policy a second glance. We believe that the latter’s view is set in stone when it comes to the last, but could, as ever, be wrong.