Tories want Boris for the long run, not just Brexit

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
July 19, 2019, 10:49 AM GMT+0

But Jeremy Corbyn enjoys less support for both jobs among 2017 Labour voters

Boris Johnson’s ascension to PM next week looks almost certain, and the former Foreign Secretary’s pitch has been that he will deliver a certain kind of Brexit. Which was perhaps a wise strategy.

Our previous study of Conservative Party members found that 68% were more interested in candidates’ Brexit plans than domestic policy. Indeed, 53% said they would vote for someone who had a good plan for Brexit even if their domestic policy was lacking.

This raises the possibility that some Boris supporters may only want him as Prime Minister for Brexit; someone to shepherd the nation through the process of leaving the EU, and then be moved aside when it comes to running the country.

We therefore asked Britons whether they wanted Boris Johnson to manage Brexit, run the country afterwards, both, or neither. We also asked the same of his two competitors, the Jeremys Hunt and Corbyn.

Boris Johnson

The results show that Conservatives tend to see Boris Johnson as someone who can handle the whole package. Most Tory voters (57%) want to see him managing the Brexit process, and while fewer want to see him running the country afterwards this figure is still relatively high at 46%. These figures include the 42% of Conservative voters that want to see him do both, and only 24% want to see him do neither.

Shifting the focus from those who voted Conservative in 2017 to those who intend to vote Conservative if a new election were called yields very little difference: 60% want him running the Brexit process, 49% want him running the country, and 44% want him in charge of both.

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Again, this sentiment remains similar among Leave voters: 56% would be happy having a Boris-run Brexit, and 41% are willing to see him run the country afterwards (39% would like both).

With Boris Johnson’s likely electoral strategy focussed on winning back Brexit Party voters, the results are very good news for him. More than three quarters (78%) of those who currently would back Nigel Farage’s party want to see Boris in charge of Brexit, with 58% wanting him to run the country (and 57% wanting both).

Jeremy Corbyn

The results make grim reading for Labour supporters, highlighting as they do the extent to which Jeremy Corbyn has lost the confidence of those who wanted to see his party take power in 2017.

Only a third (35%) of 2017 Labour voters want to see Corbyn running the country, with 26% wanting to see him managing Brexit. Just 22% want to see him do both. An astounding 42% of those who backed Corbyn’s party just two years ago say they don’t want him handling either responsibility.

Figures are rosier among those that say they would vote Labour in an upcoming General Election. Six in ten (62%) would want to see Corbyn running the country, and 47% want to see him in charge of Brexit, while 44% want him running both.

While Boris Johnson largely has the confidence of Leave voters, Remain voters certainly don’t see the Labour leader as a desirable alternative on Brexit. Just 22% said they’d be happy to see him managing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, although still higher than Johnson’s 10%.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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