“If the bulk of Party members voted early, it follows that our first survey, the responses to which came in just before most ballot papers arrived, is likely to prove most accurate” – ToryDiary, July 21.
So Boris Johnson won 66 per cent of the vote to Jeremy Hunt’s 34 per cent. That’s a thumping two-to-one margin – but just a fraction less than the former Foreign Secretary’s team will surely have hoped for. David Cameron defeated David Davis in 2006 by 68 per cent to 32 per cent, and Camp Johnson will have wanted to be there or thereabouts, not least to give them maximum reshuffle room for manoeuvre.
At any rate, how did the ConHome survey’s Next Tory Leader question and answer work out? The best way of finding an answer is to look at its three most recent outings,
Our first, compiled early this month as ballot papers were going out (a few had already been received) found Johnson 67 per cent, Hunt 29 per cent, “Other” four per cent.
Our second, a week later, had Johnson on 72 per cent and Hunt on 28 per cent.
Our third and final survey, conducted last weekend, found Johnson on 73 per cent and Hunt on 27 per cent.
We know of only one other poll or survey of Party members. A YouGov poll for the Times carried out at about the same time as our second survey above had Johnson on 74 per cent and Hunt on 26 per cent.
Our three surveys are thus all in the odd position of being closer to the final result than YouGov’s poll, although the difference between its finding and our last two surveys is very marginal indeed.
We don’t know what proportion of the electorate voted early, but readers will see that our first survey had Johnson’s share of the vote almost spot on. In retrospect, we wish that we had stripped the “other” category out at that stage to force the choice for respondents.
Last weekend, we also noted that “people don’t always recall accurately how they’ve voted – that’s a general feature of political polls and surveys”, thereby suggesting that in our two later surveys there may have been a bit of a Johnson bandwagon event.
Or perhaps there was a late movement to Hunt; or maybe there was a smattering of “shy Hunt” voters. Or, most likely, both our surveys and YouGov’s polling are slightly “to the right” of where Party members are by a few points. But overall this election result suggests that the survey is in a good place.