Main candidates to replace Theresa May would all make Tories less popular, poll suggests

A change of leadership does not seem to be a way out for the Tories

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Monday 12 June 2017 10:01
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Five people who could replace Theresa May

All the frontrunners in the nascent Conservative leadership election would make voters less likely to back their party if they became leader, according to a new poll.

The finding comes as a survey by Survation, the most accurate pollster of the general election, gives Labour a six-point lead over the Tories in their first poll after the election.

But supplementary questions asked by the pollster in the same survey show that Boris Johnson, David Davis, Michael Gove, Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond would all make people less likely to vote Tory.

In the cases of all those MPs asked about more voters said they would be “less likely” than “more likely” if they became leader.

The revelation comes amid reports that Tories are circling Theresa May’s leadership and hoping to replace her – in revenge for failing to win a majority.

The findings of the poll should be taken with caution, however, as they ask the public to speculate about how they might react to future events.

Boris Johnson, who the Mail on Sunday reports is prepping a leadership challenge, would make 23 per cent of voters more likely to vote Tory but 31 per cent of voters less likely.

David Davis would make 14 per cent of people more likely to vote Tory and 21 per cent less likely. Michael Gove would make just 11 per cent of people more likely to vote Tory and 33 per cent of people less likely.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd would attract just 13 per cent and revile 26 per cent, while Philip Hammond attracts 15 per cent of voters and repulses 23 per cent.

Pollster YouGov, which also accurately predicted the general election result, found similar numbers when it asked whether any of those candidates were a “good leader” or “bad leader”.

All those asked about were considered “bad” leaders by the public by a margin of at least 10 per cent, some significantly more.

YouGov however also asked whether Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was a good or bad leader – it found that she was narrowly considered a good leader by a five per cent margin, 20 per cent to 15 per cent.

Ms Davidson is however not an MP and thus not currently in a position to challenge Theresa May for the leadership of the party. When asked on election night whether she wanted to become Tory leader she avoided directly answering the question.

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