Conservative members prioritise competency, electability, and unity in their next leader

Patrick EnglishDirector of Political Analytics
July 07, 2022, 9:56 AM GMT+0

With Boris Johnson now stepping down, new YouGov polling shows Conservative members have priorities beyond Brexit stance for their next leader

Following Boris Johnson’s resignation this morning, snap YouGov Conservative party membership polling reveals that members prioritise competency, unity, and electability ahead of Brexit stance or continuing the policies of Boris Johnson in the leadership race to come.

According to Conservative members, the top three priorities in deciding who should be their next party leader are “someone who would make a competent prime minister” (55%), “someone who will unite the Conservative party behind them” (54%), and “someone who has the best chance of winning the 2024 election” (53%).

In contrast, only 19% believe that continuing “the direction and policies of Boris Johnson” should be a priority, perhaps demonstrating the lack of a policy legacy that the current prime minister will leave behind.

Meanwhile, 42% think that it is important to prioritise “someone who campaigned to leave the EU” in the 2016. While this figure is well beyond the 3% who believe it is important to prioritise someone who campaigned to remain in 2016, it places farther behind the top three in the overall priority list, alongside “someone who has good policy ideas for the country” (43%).

After three years of Johnson’s leadership, some 30% of party members currently believe that the Conservative party does not reflect their own personal values and priorities (66% say it does). Divisions and splits clearly run deep ahead of the process to choose Johnson’s successor.

Finally, though members are clearly in support of the prime minister’s resignation this morning, they do not believe that his successor should call an early general election. While 11% favour an early contest, a massive 84% believe that this would be the wrong direction to take.

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