A YouGov poll, a ConHome survey – and next Tory leader questions

9 Jun

Here are the results of a Next Tory Leader poll published by YouGov placed side to side with those from this site’s survey member panel in January.

Don’t know: YouGov 23 per cent.  ConHome n/a.

Ben Wallace: YouGov 12 per cent.  ConHome n/a.

Liz Truss: YouGov 11 per cent. ConHome 20 per cent.

Jeremy Hunt: YouGov: 10 per cent.  ConHome 9 per cent.

Penny Mordaunt: YouGov: 8 per cent. ConHome 13 per cent.

Rishi Sunak: YouGov: 7 per cent. ConHome 18 per cent.

Michael Gove: YouGov: 7 per cent. 4 per cent.

Priti Patel:  YouGov: 6 per cent. ConHome: 1 per cent

Tom Tugendhat: YouGov: 5 per cent. ConHome: 7 per cent.

Nadhim Zahawi: YouGov: 5 per cent. ConHome: 4 per cent.

  • We neither provided a don’t know category nor the same list as YouGov: additionally, we had Kemi Badenoch, Steve Baker, Graham Brady, Mark Harper, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Anne-Marie Trevelyan.  We didn’t offer Ben Wallace – currently top of our Cabinet League Table.
  • Water has passed under and indeed over the bridge since January: Truss no longer tops our table, for example.  Sunak’s Spring Statement wasn’t well received and the non-dom controversy has taken place.  Patel has announced the Rwanda illegal immigration policy.
  • The provision of a don’t know category by YouGov highlights what our survey suggested.  Truss tops both polls, but with only a fifth of the vote in our survey, what Ben Walker of the New Statesman writes about YouGov’s poll also applies to ours: “when you collate the views of Tory party members, you find no one stands out”.
  • Note too the similarity of the long tail – indeed, the YouGov poll results for individuals are arguably a form of long tail from the don’t knows.  Our Mordaunt score was double YouGov’s, but at 13 per cent in the latter she wasn’t lighting many fires.  Essentially, both surveys have a mass of people in not dissimilar individual figures.
  • YouGov also produced a poll of 506 Tory members on Monday which asked:” “do you think it was right or wrong for Conservative MPs to submit letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson to the 1922 committee?
  • We asked the panel whether the view that Conservative MPs should remove him as Tory leader was closer to theirs than that they shouldn’t.  We got over a thousand replies.  I think it’s fair to say that the two questions are roughly comparable.
  • YouGov said the MPs were wrong to do so by 53 per cent to 42 per cent.  The panel said that they would be right to remove him by 55 per cent to 41 per cent: almost a mirror  image.
  • Incidentally, the return to the survey from the panel last month for the same question was: 41 per cent and 53 per cent – almost exactly the same result as YouGov’s poll this week.
  • YouGov is a proper opinion poll and ours is a self-selecting survey – albeit one that got Johnson’s eve-of-ballot return to within a single point, which helps to explain why it gets picked up by other media.
  • But you will see that the two are in the same broad territory even allowing for six months’ or so difference: big blocks within the party for and against Johnson staying as leader; no decisive view on who any replacement should be.
  • If you want to join the panel, please send a copy of your membership certificate or other evidence of membership to news@conservativehome.com and you will be added.  It’s not hard to do and each addition helps to make the survey more representative.


The post A YouGov poll, a ConHome survey – and next Tory leader questions first appeared on Conservative Home.

Our Cabinet League Table. Wallace top again, Patel up, Johnson down – and Sunak in the red

25 Apr
  • This is Ben Wallace’s third table-topping month (with 85 points his rating has barely moved), and a pattern is beginning to form below him – as Liz Truss, Nadhim Zahawi and Anne-Marie Trevelyan come in variously at second, third and fourth (with scores in the mid to low sixties).  Both the first of those and now the second are being written up as potential leadership candidates.
  • Priti Patel was bottom of the table last month on -17 points, having languished at the lower end of it for some time – not least because of the small boats issue.  The Government now has a policy to deal with it, and her rating consequently jumps to 31 points, near the middle of the table.
  • Boris Johnson was in the same zone last month, having been in negative ratings for the previous three, and is now back down again – third from bottom.  Ukraine will have pushed him up last month; partygate will have pulled him down this. But the driver of his low scores is that the Government is too left-wing, at least in the view of many activists.
  • Rishi Sunak plunged last month to third from bottom in the wake of the Spring Statement (on plus eight points).  He drops to last place this month, coming in at minus five points, in the wake of the furore about his wife’s tax affairs and former non-dom status.  It is perhaps surprising that his fall isn’t larger; it may even be that the worst is behind him – in this table at least.

Our Cabinet League Table. Sunak plunges to third from bottom.

4 Apr
  • Last September, I reported that Dominic Raab had plummeted third from top in July to fourth from bottom in our Cabinet League Table.  Today, he is back to sixth from top, having worked his way out of the relegation zone.
  • I write this to offer comfort to enthusiasts for Rishi Sunak, who was eleventh last month, but now finds himself plunged to third from bottom, in the wake of a Spring Statement with which the majority of our panel is dissatisfied.
  • Having managed the table for a long time, I know that what goes down can come up again – and vice-versa.  Our respondents are very knowing, and many use the table as a form of running commentary rather than a means of permanent judgement.
  • At the top, the changes are very marginal, with Steve Barclay’s fall of nine points from 64 to 55, and drop from second to fifth, being the largest movement in the top ten – and it’s not a very large one in the great scheme of events.
  • At the bottom, Priti Patel falls into negative ratings after a month’s bad headlines over Ukrainian refugees.  The Home Office is so permanently troubled that it’s hard to see her moving up towards the comfort of mid-table in the near future.
  • Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is out of negative ratings, where he had been for three months running, and into the middle of the table.  This is at once an impressive recovery from where he was and a lacklustre rating given his position as Prime Minister.
  • Johnson will undoubtedly have gained from his handling of the Ukraine, which received an overwhelming thumbs up from our panel.  Ninety-three per cent took a positive view of it and 58 per cent a negative one of Sunak’s Spring Statement.

What our new Next Tory Leader survey tells us about support for the Prime Minister

1 Feb

There have been two Next Tory Leader opinion polls of Conservative Party members elsewhere since our last Next Tory Leader survey on this site.

The first, from YouGov, showed Rishi Sunak leading Liz Truss by 33 per cent to 25 per cent.  Respondents were given a choice of seven options.  (Our panel had been given 15.)

Those figures are less different from our last survey than Opinium’s – the second survey.  It had Sunak defeating Truss in a play-off by 64 per cent to 36 per cent.

At any rate, the panel is nothing if not consistent.  Last time round, Truss was on 23 per cent.  This time, she’s on 20 per cent, and top.

Sunak was on 20 per cent, and second.  Now, he’s on 19 per cent, and second.  Penny Mordaunt was on nine per cent, and third.  Now she’s on 13 per cent, and third.

This is a bit of a showing for an MP who is neither a Cabinet member not a prominent backbencher. Elsewhere, two One Nation-ish potential candidates, Jeremy Hunt and Tom Tugendhat, score less than ten per cent each.

But the real feature to note from this essentially static result is what showed up in the comments and the number of abstentions.

Out of roughly 75 suggestions in the comments, only two people made double figures: Lord Frost, who had 20 mentions…and Boris Johnson, who had 32.

Now look at those absentions – 119 of them compared to only 14 last month.  There is no other way of reading them than that the majority believe the question to be premature.

Put this result together with the panel’s view on Downing Street parties, the Prime Minister’s handling of Covid and this morning’s Cabinet League Table, and you have two polarities.

One is a significant slice of Party members who think that “partygate” isn’t overblown, and that the Prime Minister is doing badly.

A slightly larger one thinks that the party story is overblown, and it contains among it a smaller group of committed supporters of Johnson. They are part of his fightback, reasons for which I gave here.

All concerned think that he and the Government are doing well on Covid – as, hopefully, it at last begins to vanish over the horizon.

And overall there is a small positive movement in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet League Table rating, but it is still in the red.

So is the next leader question premature?  All I can say is that about 150 respondents either didn’t answer the question or wrote in for Johnson, and about 850 either did or wrote in for someone else.

Our Cabinet League Table. Truss’s year-long reign is ended as Wallace goes top.

1 Feb

Our monthly panel of Party members has become very knowing.  It seems to me increasingly to use the Cabinet League Table to upscore and downscore Ministers on the basis of the month’s events. And so –

  • Ben Wallace’s vigorous response to the crisis in eastern Europe, coming relatively soon after his mature conduct during the Afghanistan debacle, propels him upwards from 62 points to 80 points – and he displaces Liz Truss after her year-long reign at the top of the table.  The Defence Secretary’s name has crept into the margins of future Party leadership speculation. It will now advance further.
  • Truss herself is down from 74 points to 67 points.  That’s a small drop and of almost no significance, but it may indicate that the Foreign Office, with its multilayered challenges, is a tougher proposition for the occupant than International Trade in the wake of Brexit, in which she was able to roll over a series of deals.
  • Boris Johnson is still in negative ratings, but his score must be seen in the context of a positive total on Covid handling, and a change of mood about the toxicity of “partygate”.  Last month, his rating was -34 points, a record low for him.  This month, it is heading in the right direction.
  • Another interesting Johnson indicator is the fall in support for his most vocal critic in this table – Douglas Ross.  Last month, the latter was on 30 points.  This month, he is in the black by a slender margin of six.  The Prime Minister has his supporters as well as his critics. And they have marked the Scottish Tory leader down.
  • Elsewhere, the movements tend to follow publicity, good and bad.  So it is that Mark Spencer plunges even deeper into the red.  That Jacob Rees-Mogg, ninth last month, plunges to fifth from bottom.  That Sajid Javid gets a Covid bounce from twelfth to sixth.   And that Michael Gove, who has had a quieter month, recovers to mid-table.
  • Rishi Sunak’s score at 39 points is his lowest as Chancellor.  One can cite individual reasons for this, such as the coming National Insurance rise.  But it’s the big picture that matters.  Many panel members clearly believe that the Government is taxing and spending too much, and pin at least some of the blame at the Chancellor’s door.

These results came in over the weekend, and so don’t take into account the Sue Gray report and yesterday’s Parliamentary statement.  My best guess is that neither will help to improve the Prime Minister’s rating.

Our Cabinet League Table: Johnson falls to his lowest ever negative rating.

28 Dec
  • Perhaps the only good news for Boris Johnson is that his score, woeful as it is, is nowhere near as dire as that of Theresa May in the spring of 2019 – when she broke the survey’s unpopularity record, coming in at a catastophic -75 points.
  • Nonetheless, this is the Prime Minister’s second consecutive month in negative ratings, his third altogether, and his lowest total of the lot.  The explanation? Parties, competence, Covid restrictions, Paterson, taxes and Net Zero, not necessarily in that order.
  • Nadine Dorries is down from fourth (plus 61) to mid-table sixteenth (plus 25), Michael Gove from twelfth to sixth from bottom (plus 43 to plus 16) , and Sajid Javid from eighth to twelfth (plus 54 to plus 29). All are associated with support for Covid restrictions.
  • Mark Spencer stays in the red and Priti Patel inches into it: in her case, the explanation is “small boats”. Liz Truss is top again, Ben Wallace is up from second to fifth, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Nadhim Zahawi are scoring well. Generally, there’s a drift down.

Shanker Singham: Today’s signing of the UK-Australia deal symbolises a new economic era for Global Britain

17 Dec

Shanker Singham is CEO of Competere. He is a former adviser to Liam Fox when he was Secretary of State for International Trade, and to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

We have often taken the special relationship for granted on this side of the Atlantic. While we rest on our laurels, often the US’s other allies and trading partners steal a march on the UK.

What is needed is a comprehensive re-engagement with the US at multiple levels – Prime Minister, Cabinet, ministerial and parliamentary. There is already a lot of private sector to private sector dialogue but these need to be accelerated with ministerial sponsorship.

It is clear that on matters as diverse as the Northern Ireland Protocol, to our interest in a comprehensive free trade agreement, the UK has not been able to land forensic, knock-out blows, whereas others, notably the Irish and the EU have been more successful in prosecuting their interests with the new administration.

There are signs of improvement however. We have seen a significant uptick in the frequency of UK ministerial engagements in Washington recently. There were at least five UK ministers in the US, the week of the December 6 for example. Importantly, UK engagement is not limited to Washington DC and New York. Penny Mordaunt, the trade policy minister has just returned from the longest ministerial visit to the US in recent history – a tour of five US states lasting over 10 days, a lifetime for a minister.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, made a very important speech at Chatham House on December 8, where she acknowledged that the world had broken down into those countries that supported a vision of capitalism based on competition versus those whose capitalist model is based on distortion and cronyism – and that the countries in the former camp constituted a network of liberty. AUKUS was just a start to bring those countries together to pursue an international economic policy that maximised open trade, competition on the merits and property rights protection.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Secretary of State for Trade, also made a recent intervention at the CPS’ Margaret Thatcher conference on trade, where she specifically addressed the cancer of anti-competitive market distortions which are plaguing global trade. In this the UK and US have very similar concerns and are looking for similar solutions – a mechanism to deal with the problem that does not drive a coach and horses through the international trading system.

On what the UK’s regulatory system will look like in the future, Lord Frost was also crystal clear when he discussed this in the House of Lords, noting that the UK will diverge from EU regulation, not just for the sake of it, or because it can, but because it must do so in order to promote a pro-competitive regulatory agenda that both increases economic growth at home, but will also make it easier (and faster) to do trade deals.

The trade policy minister’s long trip led to substantial progress on Memoranda of Understanding with a number of states, as diverse as Tennessee, Oklahoma, North and South Carolina and Georgia. She made a very important speech to the Carter Centre. In it she was much more forensic about a case that does not get made often enough – why a free trade deal with the UK is in the American interest, not just the British one.

The UK leaving the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union is a massive global event. The UK, to quote Minister Mordaunt, has made itself a piece on the global chessboard, and a powerful one at that. It alone is negotiating or discussing international economic policy issues with all the key players, including the EU with which it is one of the few major players to have an FTA already.

The UK has made it crystal clear to its trading partners which side of the table it is going to be on – to inter-operate with the world on the basis of equivalence and adequacy, as the US and CPTPP countries do, instead of pushing its own regulatory vision on the rest of the world as the EU and China do.

This shift is a seismic one in geo-economic terms. If the Americans fail to capitalise on it, they will have lost a huge opportunity to win the battle for the world’s operating system, and to ensure it is based on voluntary exchange, underpinned by open trade and competition, including regulatory competition based on outcomes. This would unleash wealth creation and economic growth at a time when it is so crucially needed as the world struggles to emerge from Covid-19.

But the UK is not just making speeches. It is delivering. Today’s signing of the UK-Australia deal means that the UK’s entirely de novo trade negotiating agenda is now in full swing. Contrary to the naysayers who said that trade deals take 10 years to do, this was initiated in 2020 and concluded in 2021 – within a year of the UK leaving the EU.

It is anticipated that the NZ deal will quickly follow. Within the year, the UK also concluded a deal with Japan that contains important new elements and departures from the EU’s deal especially in the crucial data area, signed a deal with Australia, established its working group for accession to the CPTPP, and will doubtless conclude a number of MOUs with US states as a down payment on an eventual FTA with the US. This has all been done within a year of concluding the FTA with the EU, the point at which our trading partners knew whether we could do trade deals or not.

The UK and US must now use the recently announced Atlantic Charter to push for the key initiatives such as the reduction of anti-competitive market distortions around the world and the commitment to open trade and competition on the merits.  They must tie other nations into the AUKUS deal which is much more than an agreement about submarines, especially the Japanese.

The geo-economic tectonic plates are shifting as we said they would, but even faster than even we hoped and anticipated. For the first time in a long time, the network of liberty countries look like they might be winning.  We are far from out of the woods, and the world remains a very dangerous place for freedom, but these countries now have line of sight to victory, and the UK is their champion. We may yet lose, but if we do, it will be because this moment of opportunity was wasted.