Last month, a majority of the panel believed that the row was not being overblown (by 55 per cent to 43 per cent). This month, those proportions are close to being exactly reversed.
One can argue into the horizon about whether polls are “right” or “wrong” (“a poll is a snapshot not a prediction” – Lord Ashcroft).
And the panel is self-selected though in the recent past a very good guide to party member opinion, having got Boris Johnson’s vote in the last leadership election to within a point when most ballots will have been returned.
But if we are to fall back on our own readings of events, mine in relation to this return’s finding is: never mind the numbers – look at the trend.
My sense is that there has been a swingback in the Prime Minister’s favour among Conservatives MPs and Party members over the past fortnight.
Why? First, the Tory MPs I’ve spoken to say by and large have had less correspondence about “partygate” than about Dominic Cummings’ visit to Barnard Castle.
It has faded away and this has influenced their view. Second, there is an unwillingness among many Party members to see Cummings’ campaign win. Plus a blob of Johnson’s Remain-fixated, Labour, media and other opponents.
Third, the Prime Minister’s Commons “fightback” whipping campaign, organised by his Ministerial and other supporters, will have had some effect.
Finally, a killer blow, proving that Johnson himself actually organised a Downing Street party during lockdown, has been absent.
A big bloc of party members clearly take a different view, and our last survey, a special asking whether or not they think he should resign, found that a majority believed the Prime Minister should resign.
I doubt that would be the case now. The figures then were 55 per cent to 43 per cent. Were the same question now to return a similar result to the one above, the proportions would be more or less reversed.
But whatever it might show, the key element here, if I am reading this return rightly, is the trend. A slice of our panel is bored of “partygate” and want to move on.