Top 5 to replace Theresa May, according to Conservative voters

Jacob Rees Mogg Headshot

The latest YouGov/Times poll asked voters who would be best placed to take over if Theresa May were to step down as prime minister.

Poll respondents were asked to pick from a list of eleven key cabinet ministers. They were also given the option of saying none of them or ‘don’t know’.

5th – Amber Rudd

The current Home Secretary was picked by 6% of poll respondents, making her the fifth favourite to replace Theresa May among Conservative voters. When all voters in the poll are considered, the figure drops to 4%. Rudd is an effective communicator and has risen quickly in the party, but there are four crucial reasons why she is unlikely to become the next Conservative leader.

Amber Rudd

4th – David Davis

The fourth favourite Tory MP picked by Conservative voters in the poll to succeed May was the Brexit Secretary David Davis. Davis certainly has the ambition to lead as he stood against David Cameron in 2005 for the party’s leadership, but for those looking for fresh blood he might not be the answer.

Interestingly, when respondents were asked whether key cabinet figures should or should not be sacked, Davis scored extremely well with Conservative voters. No less than 61% of Tory leaders said he should be kept in his job.

However, just 7% of Conservative voters said he should replace May. As for the overall sample, 4% said Davis would be the best PM and Conservative leader.

David Davis Headshot

3rd – Boris Johnson

The former Mayor of London and current Foreign Secretary has rocked the political boat in recent months, but he has managed to remain in place despite speculation in the media. The poll found that 26% of the overall sample of voters thought he should stay in his job while 44% said he should be replaced.

Overall, 10% of voters said they thought he would be the best person for the job of PM and Conservative leader, but the figure rises to 12% for solely Conservative voters. He also does very well amongst leavers with 16% saying he would do the best job.

Boris Johnson

2nd – None of them

That’s right, in this new YouGov/Times poll, the second favourite to replace Theresa May amongst Conservative voters is none of the above. This suggests a desire for a fresh face to lead the party considering that the only cabinet members presented to poll respondents were long-standing Conservative giants. It is worth noting that the poll did not include the new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson so it is difficult to tell if his recent promotion and media exposure have had an impact.

Amongst Conservative voters, 14% picked “none of them”, but when all poll respondents are included “none of them” gets pushed into first-place – with a striking 27%.

Gavin Williamson

1st – Jacob Rees-Mogg

The eccentric back-bencher, who recently said there was no need for a cabinet reshuffle on the BBC’s Hardtalk, is viewed as the best person to replace Theresa May as prime minister by Conservative voters.

Evidently, Rees-Mogg’s dramatic rise in support over the summer continues to exist among Conservative voters, but it’s very difficult to actually imagine him becoming Britain’s prime minister.

With Jacob Rees-Mogg and the desire for none of the usual faces dominating the top of the table, there is clearly a desire for change when the time comes. But when considering that 77% of Tory voters want May to stay in her party’s top job, the time for change could still be years away.

The full results of the YouGov/Times poll can be accessed here (7th – 8th November). Labour 43%, Conservatives 40%, Liberal Democrats 6%.