As the battle to be the new Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader wages on, a new Opinium poll of Conservative Party Members reveals Liz Truss has a 22 point lead over rival Rishi Sunak.
Truss has 61% of the vote share, compared to 39% for Sunak.
Support for Truss mostly comes from the older end of the Tory party, as she has a 40 point lead among those aged over 65. Among the under 50s, she is 8 points behind Sunak.
Opinium’s poll found that, with just over three weeks until the decision is announced, almost all Conservative MPs have made up their mind on who to vote for, with just 19% saying they are yet to decide. Nearly three in ten (29%) say they have already voted while almost half (47%) will definitely vote for their chosen candidate. If this is indeed the case, Sunak would need to win the votes of everyone who is undecided, as well as a significant proportion of wavering Truss voters who haven’t yet cast their ballot, if he is to be successful.
Reasons for supporting
Among Truss voters, the top reason that Tory members are choosing are because she is more honest / trustworthy (14%) and because she remained loyal to Boris Johnson (10%). 8% mentioned support for tax cuts or believing Truss is better on the economy.
In contrast, believing he is better on the economy is the main reasons that Sunak supporters are voting for the former Chancellor, 22% are supporting him for this reason while 10% believe he is the most competent and intelligent.
Boris Johnson’s popularity among the Tories still looms large
Opinium’s poll also reveals that neither candidate is as popular among the Tory membership as Boris Johnson in head-to-head match-ups. Almost two-thirds (63%) would still prefer Johnson to stay in charge, compared to 22% who would prefer Truss to become leader. More starkly, 68% of members would prefer Johnson to remain in charge, compared to 19% who would prefer Sunak to take over.
When the general public were asked about these scenarios, 26% said they would prefer Johnson to remain, while 31% would pick Truss as leader. In comparison, 31% would prefer Johnson to stay in charge, and 32% would choose Sunak instead.
Chris Curtis, head of political polling at Opinium, said, “From the moment we knew the final two candidates, it’s been clear that Truss has had all the momentum, and our latest poll sets out just how large her lead among the party members has become. With many members having already returned their ballot papers, it is now very unlikely Truss won’t become Prime Minister in September.
“It’s clear that Sunak’s biggest problem is trust. While some members respect his economic arguments, this hasn’t been enough to overcome the view among members that he isn’t honest or trustworthy enough for the top job, particularly after he called for Johnson to go.”