Home Business News Sunak beats all 7 potential leadership rivals in head-to-head among Conservative voters

Sunak beats all 7 potential leadership rivals in head-to-head among Conservative voters

by LLB political Reporter
22nd Feb 24 1:13 pm

New research from polling company Savanta suggests that the public would prefer Penny Mordaunt as Conservative leader over seven other potential leadership rivals – including Pime Minister Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and current frontrunner Kemi Badenoch.

When asked in a series of head-to-head questions who they would be happy leading the Conservative Party, the public chose Mordaunt over every one of Sunak, Johnson, Badenoch, Nigel Farage, James Cleverly, Suella Braverman and Tom Tugendhat. Mordaunt was the only potential candidate who beat all of her potential rivals, and was most often chosen by 2019 Labour voters.

In better news for the prime minister, he is the most likely candidate to be chosen over his rivals by Conservative voters – including marginally besting former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who led the party to an 80+ seat majority in 2019.

Sunak even comes out narrowly on top over his old boss among Leave voters. The Prime Minister is preferred over would-be replacements such as Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Reform UK’s Nigel Farage.

These findings would suggest the Conservative Party would struggle to immediately improve its prospects – or drive up turnout in the general election – simply by replacing Sunak with a rival.

Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “Our research suggests that recent rumblings of replacing the Prime Minister to drive up support among Conservative voters may be wide of the mark.

“Sunak beats every single one of his potential challengers in a head-to-head among 2019 Conservative voters, including Boris, Kemi and Reform UK’s Nigel Farage. This is not a party that appears to have a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings, or an easy path to avoid an electoral drubbing by the Labour Party.”

“Penny Mordaunt and her team should be the ones most happy with our findings, which show that she is the most likely to be chosen by the public over her potential leadership rivals. Labour voters in particular seem most keen on her, when compared with other senior Conservative figures.”

Savanta polled 2,237 nationally representative UK adults between 9 – 12 February on their preferences for leaders of the Conservative Party. Using a ‘MaxDiff’ approach, they asked respondents to choose their preference of one potential candidate over another, in pairs. This was done multiple times for eight different leading Conservative figures, to give final results.

Mordaunt won all seven of her head-heads among UK adults, with the public twice as likely to choose her as they would Suella Braverman. Braverman is the least likely to have been chosen by the public, losing all seven of her head-to-heads. Home Secretary James Cleverly won five of out seven of his head-to-heads, losing only to Sunak and Mordaunt.

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