The at least 160,000-strong party membership had until 5pm on Friday 2 September to submit their ballots, which were then counted over the weekend so that the winner can be announced by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, at 12.30pm today.
While the former chancellor led the way throughout the parliamentary leg of the contest in July, helping him see off challenges from the likes of Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch, the foreign secretary has been out in front ever since it became a two-horse race.
Many in the Conservative Party continue to blame Mr Sunak for the ousting of Mr Johnson, as it was his resignation, along with that of health secretary Sajid Javid, that catalysed the exodus of more than 50 Tory ministers from government that made the PM’s position untenable.
As a candidate, Mr Sunak has been forced to preach fiscal pragmatism, hitting out at Ms Truss’s tax cut pledges as “fairytale” economics and a short “sugar rush” paid for “with the country’s credit card”.
His message appears to have failed to win over the party membership, who seem persuaded by Ms Truss’s neo-Thatcherite positioning and unswayed by her past as a Liberal Democrat and a Remainer, her habit of ducking out of media interviews and her refusal to spell out precisely how she proposes to address a dire cost of living crisis, especially given her declared opposition to state “handouts”.
On the final day on which votes could be cast, the bookies appeared to have concluded the contest was done and dusted.
The top price offered on Ms Truss was 1/20 by William Hill, which had Mr Sunak at 10/1.
Ladbrokes, thinking along similar lines, had the foreign secretary at 1/33 and the former chancellor languishing at 12/1.
Betfair Exchange had Ms Truss on 1/33 and Mr Sunak on 25/1 while Smarkets said the former had a 96 per cent chance of victory, giving the latter just a 4 per cent hope, which is to say, almost none.
Politico’s poll of polls, meanwhile, which compiles all of the most recent surveys of Conservatives members, predicted Ms Truss winning 59 per cent of the vote, with just 32 per cent backing Mr Sunak and 10 per cent still undecided.
A recent YouGov poll saw the margin as even greater, placing Ms Truss on 66 per cent and Mr Sunak on 34 per cent, while another from Opinium had the South West Norfolk MP on 61 per cent and her Richmond counterpart at 39 per cent.
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