Johnson would beat Rudd and Davis in leadership election, says poll

Boris Johnson chairs meeting

A new YouGov poll for the Times puts Johnson on course to become the next Conservative leader.

The poll of Tory members, conducted between the 20th and 27th September, suggests that Boris Johnson is the one to beat if Theresa May stepped down as Conservative leader.

The foreign secretary, who almost stood for leader following David Cameron’s leadership bid last summer, would beat Amber Rudd in a hypothetical leadership contest (57% - 33%), according to the poll.

Amber Rudd

He would also beat David Davis in a hypothetical run-off, although such a race would be much tighter (46% - 39%).

On top of this, when members were asked to pick which Conservative figure they would like to see leading their party, a plurality picked Johnson (23%). He was then followed by Ruth Davidson – who is not even an MP – on 19%, followed by Jacob Rees-Mogg on 17% and David Davis on 11%.

Jacob Rees Mogg Headshot

The poll suggests that Johnson has supporters amongst grassroots Tory members. But in order to get to the final two, which are then voted on by members, he would need to gaining enough support from MPs.

Does he have the support to make it to the final round should a new leadership contest be triggered? The Independent reports that senior Conservative figures have said he would be unlikely to get enough support from Conservative MPs to get to that crucial membership ballot.

Overall, the poll suggests that Boris Johnson is a favourite amongst party members, but his difficulty is getting into that final round.

If the party members were in charge of the leadership from the get-go, Boris Johnson would be top candidate to succeed Theresa May, but the MP voting rounds will surely slow his rise to the top.

The full results of the YouGov poll can be accessed here.