Boris Johnson’s Conservative leadership hopes boosted as new poll reveals he is 'much more popular than David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband'

YouGov survey found that the Mayor of London far outscores the three main party leaders

Boris Johnson’s hopes of becoming Conservative Party leader received another boost as new polling shows he is much more popular than David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.

A survey by YouGov found that the Conservative Mayor of London outscores the three main party leaders on charisma; sticking to what he believes in and being strong; in touch with ordinary people’s concerns; honest; a natural leader; decisive and good in a crisis.

Although the “Boris bounce” from the Olympics and Paralympics may not be sustained, the figures will encourage the Mayor’s growing band of admirers on the Tory backbenches.  Few allies expect him to succeed Mr Cameron before the 2015 election but they are determined that he will return to the Commons at that election so he could stand for the Tory leadership if the party fails to win an overall majority.

YouGov found striking evidence that Tory prospects would be enhanced with Mr Johnson as leader. With Mr Cameron at the helm, Labour would win a majority of 92 seats today. But if the London Mayor led his party, Labour’s majority would be cut to just eight seats – almost a hung parliament.  Under Mr Johnson, the Tories would win 1.5m more votes than under Mr Cameron, saving the two-thirds of the seats they would  otherwise.

Mr Johnson’s lead over Mr Cameron is biggest in London. But, significantly, he would also improve Tory prospects in the Midlands and the North, the areas with the marginal seats likely to decide the next election, and the rest of the South.  This finding will undermine the argument of  the Mayor’s critics, who claim he would have little appeal “north of Watford.”

“The Boris bounce is simply enormous,” said Peter Kellner, YouGov’s president. “He is Britain’s Heineken politician: refreshing parts of the public that other politicians can’t reach. Even if his popularity doesn’t last, it poses an awkward  challenge not just to Cameron, but to Clegg and Miliband too.”

But Mr Kellner conceded that the polling figures are only a “snapshot” and do not predict how the Mayor will be viewed next year or in 2015. “Were he to return to the House of Commons and face critical examination of his national policies, voters’ views might change,” he said. “A mayor basking jovially in the reflected glory of the Olympics might be regarded in a different light from a national leader  seeking to have his finger on the nuclear trigger.”

Cameron allies play down any threat to his leadership from Mr Johnson, with some suggesting that Tory MPs will become fed up with his “manoeuvring” if he does “put up or shut up.” There is frustration that the Mayor appeared to upstage the Prime Minister at some events at the Games and reap the most benefit from the “feelgood factor” they created. Some Cameron aides have hinted that the Mayor will receive a lukewarm response when he asks the Government for money to support his pet projects for the capital.

Mr Johnson has consistently denied planning a return to Westminster, where he was an MP from 2001 to 2008. He insists he will serve a full four-year term as Mayor to 2016.  But his supporters on the Tory benches believe he will find a safe seat in the run-up to the 2015 election and serve as both an MP and Mayor for 12 months.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk