Boris Johnson’s most recent scores in our Next Tory Leader surveys have been 33 per cent, 43 per cent – and now 54 per cent. That 43 per cent score was already a record for the survey in this question, as far as we can tell, and Johnson’s eve-of-poll rating sees him taking more than half the vote.
Rory Stewart’s brilliant campaign has taken him to second, but he is more than 40 points behind the front-runner. Dominic Raab, who was on 15 per cent at the end of May, has seen his rating almost halve since then. Johnson has clearly eaten into his support.
Michael Gove’s turbulent week sees four points knocked off his total – not all that much, but he had a small rating to begin with: 12 per cent. That none the less saw him second in our last survey: he is now fourth. Jeremy Hunt rises slightly from five per cent to eight per cent, and Sajid Javid does likewise from three per cent to five per cent.
But these are footling scores. For obvious reasons, Penny Mordaunt and Steve Baker have come out of the survey. None of the remaining candidates seriously trouble the scorers. Our reading of the result is that a majority of Party members presumably want their say in due course – but also wish to see this contest over and done with.
In our view, Johnson’s support is a mix of genuine enthusiasm and a certain resignation: a sense that he is the candidate most likely to see off both Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage, if that can be done at all. Tory activists want Johnson as their next leader, and Conservative MPs are now likely to put him before them.
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Our pre-first Parliamentary ballot calculations have the candidates’ votes as follows:
That’s 238 votes in all out of 313 Conservative MPs.
Today, we will find out –