Our panel may have been slightly surprised to find another survey landing in their inbox so soon after the previous one. But with the crucial vote on the Withdrawal Agreement looming and every day counting, we have conducted an extra one on behalf of The Times.
What we find is a further hardening of attitudes. The share of party members who want MPs to vote down the deal has risen very slightly to 71.5, from 68 last time, while those who do not has dropped from 30 per cent to 26 per cent. This may factor in more grassroots anger about the machinery of CCHQ being used to try and drum up support for a policy the membership overwhelmingly opposes.
As for the Prime Minister personally, almost two members in three believe she should resign if (when?) the Government loses the meaningful vote on Tuesday. This is a fair bit more than the half who wanted her to step down immediately last time we asked, suggesting that for many members this is less a question of personal antipathy towards Theresa May and more a recognition that, Fixed-term Parliaments Act or not, a crushing defeat on the central policy of your government is a confidence measure.
Faced with a narrower field of May’s deal, a renegotiation attempt, no deal, another referendum, or cancelling Brexit, just over 50 per cent of respondents backed ‘No Deal’. This compares with just under a quarter favouring a renegotiation attempt and just 16 per cent the Prime Minister’s proposals.
For comparison, in our last survey ‘No Deal’ was the first-preference outcome of just over a third of party members. However, it’s worth noting that the options presented in it were different from those agreed for this survey with the Times.
Over the past week, the Government has elected to take the case to the country in the hope of bringing public pressure to bear on MPs to back the deal. This might work, but the countervailing influence of local activists – the people who canvass and leaflet for their local MP or candidate on a regular basis – looks to be both more concentrated and much less equivocal.