A recent YouGov poll of Conservative members has George Osborne supported by 37% for next leader – ahead of Boris Johnson with 34%

George Osborne's speech at the Conservative party conference yesterday, pledging to comandeer a centre ground he says has been "completely abandoned" by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour, has been read as much as a demonstration of the chancellors' leadership credentials as a display of the Tories' effort to make themselves the 'natural party of government'.

Boris Johnson, George Osborne's main rival in a leadership election David Cameron has assured us will come before 2020, today leads the counter offensive, attacking the chancellor's plans for tax credit cuts, saying that the Tories should “protect the hardest working and the lowest paid”.

YouGov research of Conservative party members reveals that George Osborne (37%) is ahead of Boris Johnson (34%). Theresa May, speaking on immigration today at conference, trails in third with 19% and Sajid Javid has 10%. Nicky Morgan, secretary of state for education, announced yesterday her intention to run for leadership. The poll was conducted prior to this announcement.

We've divided the Conservative membership into two groups: activists/passive and pragmatists/idealists. George Osborne has a clear lead among those who engage actively with canvassing, by phone and door to door, and the pragmatists - ie those who say it is better for parties to put forward policies that allow them to win, even if this means compromise.

Boris Johnson on the other hand has a greater lead among idealist Conservative members, who say parties should put forward policies they really believe in, even if they're unpopular and prevent them winning elections. He also leads (39% to George Osborne's 34%) among those who want to leave the EU, while Osborne has a healthy lead among those who want to stay (42% to Johnson's 29%).

Among the general public (excluding don't knows and wouldn't votes – 54%), who wouldn't have a vote in the Conservative leadership but would ultimately decide which party to elect, Boris Johnson has a huge lead (54%) over George Osborne, who is tied with Theresa May at 20%.

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See the full poll results

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