Note the bigger response this month compared to last month – a consequence not of more or less reader enthusiasm, but of improvements we’ve been able to make to the survey.
Essentially, we have about 1500 responses compared to some 1100. But the bigger number makes no difference of any significance to the result.
Last month, 62 per cent of the panel said that they would vote for the Brexit Party, and only 23 per cent for the party of which they are actually a member – the Conservatives.
This month, those figures are 61 per cent and 22 per cent. Party members have apparently made up their mind – and that this survey took place in the aftermath of woeful local election results has made no difference one way or the other.
As we said last month, the Mail on Sunday poll which found that two in five Tory councillors intend to back Nigel Farage’s party adds weight to our finding.
If 40 per cent of councillors plan to do so, it seems possible that 60 per cent of members, whose arguably have less at stake in terms of Party commitment, do so too.
It may be worth running through the reasons that we floated for this dreadful result for the Conservatives. They are as follows. First, anger at the postponement of Brexit after it had been promised over 100 times for March 29.
Second, a backlash against Theresa May’s talks with Jeremy Corbyn, which now seem to be nearing a climax, whatever happens. This has infuriated and baffled many members. Their view of them will be in line with our illustration right.
Third, the belief that they provide a free hit chance to protest – a free hit. Fourth, the belief that Nigel Farage provides a respectable pro-Brexit alternative (backing for UKIP in the survey has collapsed).
Finally, the hope that a really bad result might prove to be a trigger for leadership change. We publish today Andrew Sharpe’s letter confirming an emergency National Convention meeting. And Graham Brady meets with the Prime Minister today.