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YouGov poll: Three of the four members of the Squad have negative favorability

Westlake Legal Group s-1 YouGov poll: Three of the four members of the Squad have negative favorability YouGov Trump tlaib The Blog pressley poll omar ocasio-cortez negative Election 2020

Useful data for two reasons. One: Obviously everyone’s curious to know how the Trump vs. AOC battle is playing among Americans. This gives us some evidence, although not direct evidence. Two: It helps counter the misperceptions caused by that Axios story a few days ago, which was picked up and tweeted out by Trump himself. The Axios piece claimed that AOC was viewed favorably by just 22 percent and Ilhan Omar by a scant nine percent. But that was a poll of whites without a college degree, i.e. Trump’s base, not a poll of everyone. For a sense of how the country writ large views the Squad we had to wait for more numbers. That’s where YouGov comes in.

This is a poll of the general population. Verdict on the four, to quote “Chernobyl”: Not great, not terrible.

Westlake Legal Group y1 YouGov poll: Three of the four members of the Squad have negative favorability YouGov Trump tlaib The Blog pressley poll omar ocasio-cortez negative Election 2020

Ilhan Omar’s at 25/34, Rashida Tlaib at 24/31, and AOC at 33/41, all negative in net favorability but all in single digits. (The number who say they “don’t know” when asked about Ocasio-Cortez is smaller than it is for most Democratic presidential candidates tested in this same poll. Most people already have an opinion about her despite the fact that she’s been in Congress for all of six months.) The only Squad member with a positive rating is Ayanna Pressley at 22/18. Not coincidentally, she’s also the least well-known of the four, with 60 percent saying they don’t know her. She simply hasn’t thrown enough rhetorical grenades yet to get righties to hate her.

To put the Squad’s numbers in perspective, eyeball the table Ariel Edwards-Levy prepared comparing their favorability to that of other prominent Democrats. Net negative in the single digits is actually … pretty common for American politicians. Trump has spent the better part of the last two years at 43/51 or so in most polls, -8 on balance. That’s exactly where he’s at in this poll too, meaning that he has the same net (un)favorability as AOC. By comparison, Nancy Pelosi is at -12 and Mitch McConnell is at -26. Most Dem presidential candidates score a bit better than the Squad, but Beto O’Rourke, for instance, is at -7, the same as Tlaib. Bill de Blasio is at -20(!!). It may be that the Squad, or at least Ocasio-Cortez, draws more *intense* support or dislike than most other Dems even if their raw favorability is similar: As it turns out, only Bernie Sanders has a higher “very unfavorable” rating than AOC among presidential candidates and only he, Biden, Warren, and Harris have a higher “very favorable” number. But however you slice it, it’s not true that the four are hugely or weirdly unpopular. They shake out more or less the same way that any well-known politicians on either side do, if not a bit better than the average.

What does this mean for Trump’s strategy to pit himself against the four going forward, at least until Dems have chosen a nominee? Likely nothing. The numbers in that Axios poll showing that working-class whites strongly dislike the Squad may be all he needs to know. If he can get those people to turn out for him again in swing states, he wins — probably. Strategists are wringing their hands because strategists dislike uncertainty, and Trump lobbing a “go back where you came from” grenade at four minority congresswomen is packed with uncertainty in terms of how voters will react…

Suburban women and college-educated whites sidelined doubts about Trump and provided support crucial to his victory over Hillary Clinton. But many, fed up with the president’s antics and rhetoric, defected to the Democratic Party in midterm elections two years later. Senior Republican strategists are warning that Trump’s divisive attacks on the four female minority congressional Democrats could permanently exile these key voting blocs, costing the president reelection…

Granted the protection of anonymity … some said the president had committed an egregious, self-inflicted error that could haunt him all the way into next year. A veteran Republican consultant said this latest episode was a bigger political problem for Trump than his controversial response to a violent gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, two summers ago.

“It’s the worst thing he has done,” this GOP insider said. “It’s a blunder and the telling fact that not a single person in the White House has the ability to course correct … and keep it from being a week-long story sets up a terrible narrative.”

…but Trump knows, or thinks he knows, what his base likes and is convinced that he has the numbers to beat Democrats if he can get enough of his own fans out to the polls:

Trump’s associates predict more, not less, of the race-baiting madness…

Trump knows that in 2016, he won the white vote by 20+ points.

He hopes he can crank their turnout even higher, especially among older, white evangelicals. He knows most of those voters are unlikely to ditch him, no matter how offensive his comments.

He watches Fox News and knows AOC, in particular, is catnip to old, white voters, especially men. She is young, Hispanic, female and a democratic socialist — a 4-for-4 grievance magnet.

A new Reuters poll today finds Trump’s net approval up five points among Republicans since Sunday, when he first tweeted about the Squad. There’s no proof that the tweets caused the bounce, but (a) they’ve dominated the news this week and (b) Trump’s net approval among GOPers was already so high that it would take something extraordinary, one would think, to send it upward five whole points in the span of a few days. The spat with the Squad is pretty extraordinary. His poll bounce is probably a reaction to the tweets and the acidic condemnation he’s received from critics, and the fact that righties are rallying around him won’t be lost on him. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a version of the MAGA hat with “Go Back to Africa” on it on sale in the Trump campaign store next year.

Here’s one of those critics laying into him yesterday on CNN. It’s, uh [checks notes] Anthony Scaramucci? Exit question: Fully 35 percent of the public thinks Pizzagate is definitely or probably true? That must mean the numbers among Republicans are way, way over 50 percent.

The post YouGov poll: Three of the four members of the Squad have negative favorability appeared first on Hot Air.

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33 per cent? 45 per cent? 71 per cent? What’s the true leadership election turnout?

The results of our latest survey of Party members, published yesterday, appear to have produced an interesting reaction.

This week’s survey asked for the first time how many members have already voted. Seventy-one per cent of those on our panel say they have cast their vote, which if the voting intentions are accurate would make it mathematically impossible for Jeremy Hunt to win via a late surge.

Shortly after that finding was published a range of leaked official turnout figures started to crop up. Beth Rigby of Sky News was told the figure was ‘less than half’ by three sources, including one who claimed the figure was lower than 33 per cent. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg had been tipped off sufficiently firmly to assert that ‘Fewer than half of Tory members have so far voted in the leadership contest and sent back their ballot to party HQ – the assumption that they would all make up their mind in a flash has turned out to be wrong’. Francis Elliott of The Times has also been told ‘fewer than half’.

In short, there is quite some discrepancy. At one end is our survey figure of 71 per cent. At the other end is that Rigby source claiming somewhere below 33 per cent. And the other Rigby sources, Kuenssberg’s source and Elliott’s source, who say ‘fewer than half’ are in the middle somewhere – let’s assume around 40-49 per cent.

The reasons such a discrepancy might arise are interesting in their own right, but the truth is also politically important. It alters the tone and nature of the rest of the contest, if you believe either that most selectors have voted or most are still up for grabs.

The source of the numbers is key. It seemed likely from Rigby and Kuenssberg’s reports that their figures had come from inside the Conservative Party’s structure. Electoral Reform Services are the outside company contracted to run the leadership ballot, and while the election is formally overseen by the 1922 Committee, ERS’ contract is with – and bills paid by – the Conservative Party itself. So it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that ERS would provide regular progress reports on the running of the ballot to its client – not, of course, on how people are voting (the votes for each candidate are yet to be counted), but on whether people are doing so, whether ballot papers are being successfully received by post, and so on. On initially hearing the BBC and Sky numbers yesterday, I assumed that the figures were from just such a progress report, and were therefore most likely to be leaking from somewhere inside CCHQ or somebody in turn briefed by them.

Elliott’s report in The Times today confirms this assumption to be correct, specifying the source as ‘the internal turnout assessment passed to CCHQ from the Electoral Reform Society’.

By contrast, the ConservativeHome survey is a survey of Party members on our panel – 1,319 of whom answered the turnout question.

Anecdotally, we have other sources who echo it. An experienced organiser within the Johnson campaign tells us that in their area the Get Out The Vote operation has so far turned out 75 per cent of Johnson supporters. A Cabinet minister who has been following their local members’ decision-making estimates association turnout to be 80 per cent. A senior member of the voluntary party estimates the national figure to be around 70 per cent.

Unsurprisingly, we believe our figure to be closer to the truth than reports of only a third, or a minority, of votes having been cast, and it seems that various people closely engaged with the process tend to agree.

But the discrepancy still exists, and must be accounted for. How has it arisen, and might it be possible to navigate the various numbers to get at what is really going on?

We can dismiss the baseless allegations of untruth that have become all-too common. We do not know if any of the journalists reporting the contents of an ERS briefing have seen a document, or simply been told of it, but there’s no reason to believe that they are doing anything other than accurately reflecting information from sources they trust. Let’s engage with all the numbers on the basis of good faith.

Looking at our figure first, are there factors which could lead the ConservativeHome survey figure to be too high?

Bluntly, yes: it’s a survey, not a weighted poll, and by definition a Party member reading this site and subscribed to our panel is likely to be somewhat more politically engaged than the average member. Plus, we’re sending them regular surveys about the leadership election, which could spur some to vote by the simple effect of reminding them.

We won’t be catching negative answers from people who are ill, on holiday, et cetera. And anyone getting two ballot papers – as a member of two associations – but obeying the rules and only voting once will appear as a voter in our numbers but would only appear as 50 per cent turnout (one vote cast, the other not) in the ERS/CCHQ figures.

But even after considering those selection effects, the fact remains that our survey’s findings about opinions within the Conservative grassroots tend to map pretty closely to YouGov’s polling of the membership, so the panel doesn’t seem to be so wildly disproportionate as to account for discrepancies as large as those listed above.

So might there be factors which make the reported ERS figures an underestimate of the true turnout? Again, yes there are.

First, the ERS reports to CCHQ are effectively sampling an earlier stage of the election than our survey. It’s a postal ballot, so included in our figures are people who have recently posted their vote who won’t appear on the ERS tally until their ballot papers have been delivered, separated from personal data (eg the donation slips which were sent out at the same time) and tallied up. There could be a lag of two or three days in that process, which is not inconsiderable in the course of a week’s voting time.

Then there’s the question of how often the ERS submit these reports, and what data they are compiled from. If they’re daily, do they use the tally from the previous day’s postal delivery? Or are they less than daily? Again, this is a question of when these snapshots effectively date from.

We also don’t know when the reports being cited were submitted to CCHQ – they might be from yesterday (ie Wednesday’s tally data) or earlier. Indeed, that could even account for the difference between ‘less than a third’ and ‘under half’. If Rigby’s lower end source was citing earlier numbers than those who gave a mid-range number to her, Kuenssberg and Elliott, they could both be accurate but for different points in the last week – just as our survey, conducted on Wednesday, will include voters who won’t make it into the ERS tally until today or tomorrow.

There’s another effect that I suspect is at play. We’ve all put a letter in an envelope, stamped and addressed it, then left it on the side until we next know we’ll be going past a post box. There are likely to be quite a lot of Conservative leadership election votes in exactly that limbo right now. For good reason they won’t appear on the ERS tally of votes received, but I’d guess quite a few of those voters would regard their vote as having been ‘cast’ – on the basis that they’ve put the X in the box and it’ll be sent in very soon. They aren’t in the ballot box, but they’re out of contention for the candidates to win over – take your pick of whether they should be counted as having voted or not.

In short, it seems likely that our figure might be over by a bit, but that the low-ball claims are likely under by a decent bit – or, in the case of the lowest, by a lot. They aren’t necessarily untrue; instead, in effect the point in the race they illustrate is earlier on than the snapshot provided by the survey.

Of course, in the long-run this will prove academic. But for now it matters – and it’s worth noting that currently the interests of both leadership campaigns and CCHQ itself are all aligned in emphasising that turnout is lower than expected. Hunt and Johnson must activate their supporters as much as possible and avoid either depression or complacency setting in, while the Party’s authorities want to deliver a high-turnout leadership election to display their own effectiveness and deliver the new Prime Minister the largest possible grassroots mandate. Those conditions, more than anything else, underlie this debate on where the race currently stands.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

YouGov: 67% of Republicans say people who burn the flag should be stripped of citizenship

Westlake Legal Group yg YouGov: 67% of Republicans say people who burn the flag should be stripped of citizenship YouGov Trump The Blog republicans flag democrats Citizenship burning

Thankfully no one in a position of authority has endorsed this highly illiberal idea.

Oh. Right.

There’s less to this poll than meets the eye, I think. I hope?

Westlake Legal Group r YouGov: 67% of Republicans say people who burn the flag should be stripped of citizenship YouGov Trump The Blog republicans flag democrats Citizenship burning

I suspect most people who hear a question like that aren’t taking it at face value but are treating it as a proxy for whether flag-burning is broadly right or wrong. Would a good American burn the flag? Hell no, say Republicans! It’s our damned right to protest, counter Democrats! And that shakes out to the partisan mirror images we’re seeing here.

But it’s not that simple. A question that asked simply whether flag-burning is wrong would probably draw majorities of both parties. (Maybe?) A question that asked whether flag-burning should be punished with death wouldn’t approach majority levels on either side. (Again, I hope.) Tying it to citizenship is an in-between sanction that zeroes in on patriotism. How does a person who feels such contempt for America that he’d torch the flag rightly call himself an American? That’s what this question’s getting at. Few who answer are thinking through the implications of mainstreaming exile as a punishment for civic blasphemy. They’re treating it as a gut-check about whether someone who despises the country enough to burn Old Glory deserves the label of “American” as much as everyone else does.

Some righties who noticed the poll on Twitter this afternoon wondered how the results would have looked if YouGov had asked whether people who wave the Russian flag or celebrate Putin’s interference in the 2016 election should be deported. More Dems than Republicans would vote yes on that one, even though that result would also be obnoxious. Likewise, the idea of making “hate speech” a crime is perfectly mainstream in Europe and enjoys majority support among Democrats if you believe other YouGov polls. Asking about penalties for burning the American flag but not for desecrating other highly charged symbols more sacred to the left feels like YouGov’s way of gaming the poll to highlight illiberal tendencies on one side of the aisle only.

Exit question: Is it really that unlikely that a majority of Republicans would still support this idea after giving it some thought if Trump went all-in on championing it? Sixty-seven percent in favor seems unlikely, but what about 51 percent?

The post YouGov: 67% of Republicans say people who burn the flag should be stripped of citizenship appeared first on Hot Air.

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Oof. Biden’s lead contracts, Bernie is disappearing

Westlake Legal Group BidenJoeStaresOutWindow715Lgr Oof. Biden’s lead contracts, Bernie is disappearing YouGov The Blog polls Pete Buttigieg kamala harris Joe Biden Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders 2020 Democratic primaries

I’m old enough to remember the heady days when Joe Biden was polling somewhere north of 40% and the only other person that could even crawl into the teens was Bernie Sanders. But that was literally weeks ago. The latest Economist/YouGov poll just came out and it’s difficult to say if we actually have a frontrunner among the Democrats. Biden has dropped to 22 percent and Elizabeth Warren is only five points behind him, barely outside the margin of error. And what happened to Bernie Sanders? He’s fallen back to eleven percent, in danger of hitting single digits. (The Hill)

Former Vice President Joe Biden is hanging on to the top spot in the Democratic primary field, leading his nearest rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by 5 points, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday.

Biden notched 22 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters in the poll, while Warren finished in second place with 17 percent. In third was Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who took 14 percent support in the survey.

Rounding out the top five candidates were Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 11 percent and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who received 5 percent of the vote.

It’s beginning to look like the Pete Buttigieg boomlet has gone bust. He was the flavor of the week for quite a while there, but his opponents have been tagging him on his handling of the police shooting in South Bend last month, as well as suggesting that he’s insufficiently woke in terms of racism. In any event, his numbers are heading in the wrong direction.

Getting back to the headline, how did Joe Biden slip so far so fast? I suppose we’ll have to credit that at least partially to the first debates and the way Kamala Harris somehow dragged him into a debate on busing (!?!) decades after the last time anyone was talking about it. The pile-on by the media was relentless and it appears that enough people are paying attention to cause him some damage.

Do we really think this could happen to Biden for the third time? Granted, his first presidential bid was kind of a long shot. The second run just hit some unfortunate timing because he ran smack into the teeth of the Hope and Change moment. But this time seemed like it just had to be different. Biden came out of the gates looking as if the primary was only a formality. He had not only the highest name recognition but the best approval ratings and a gold plated resume. And yet somehow Kamala Harris has dragged him into a mud fight. Oddly enough, it hasn’t helped her as much as Elizabeth Warren, though. Those Dem primary voters are a fickle lot this year, or so it seems.

Let’s not start writing Biden’s political obituary just yet, though. He’s still in the lead outside the margins and he has at least a couple more debates to do some damage control. But he clearly can’t take anything for granted anymore and float above the fray. If Biden really wants this, he’s going to have to earn it.

The post Oof. Biden’s lead contracts, Bernie is disappearing appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group BidenJoeStaresOutWindow715Lgr-300x162 Oof. Biden’s lead contracts, Bernie is disappearing YouGov The Blog polls Pete Buttigieg kamala harris Joe Biden Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders 2020 Democratic primaries   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hit hard, Hunt

Over half of those entitled to vote in the Conservative leadership election may already have done so.  According to YouGov, Boris Johnson was leading Jeremy Hunt among Party members last week by 74 per cent to 26 per cent. Our own survey a few days earlier put Johnson on 67 per cent and Hunt on 29 per cent.

The contest may be closer than either suggest, but this site is yet to find evidence to support such a view, and as we write Johnson looks set to win.  Some of Hunt’s supporters, and Party members more widely, may therefore want him to pull his punches in this evening’s Sky TV debate between the two candidates – their first head to head since this final stage of the contest began.

They will argue that the debating equivalent of mud wrestling will do nothing for the Party’s reputation, and worry too that, if Hunt gets too close and personal, Johnson will take revenge when the election ends.  They may be pondering the latter’s claim that his favourite film scene is “the multiple retribution killings at the end of The Godfather“.  Instead of a slugfest, they want a minuet – or perhaps more appropriately, given the Foreign Secretary’s dancing interests, a lambada.

We hope that Hunt provides nothing of the kind.  This site has come out for Johnson, but it is important that, if he is indeed set to win, he should be tested thoroughly tonight.  And while the front-runner has not exactly been avoiding scrutiny – we ourselves interviewed him recently – Hunt is right to point out that his opponent has ensured that this debate takes place after a mass of Party members have already voted.

As for providing ammunition for Corbyn, we believe that the Foreign Secretary is more than capable of conducting the evening’s business without turning into the Indoraptor from Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom.  (Which would be a surprise for all concerned, including him).

And as for revenge, this site was early to say that Johnson’s Cabinet must be signed up to No Deal if necessary – a view that he himself endorsed in our interview with him.  Within that constraint, he needs, given the lack of a Conservative majority, to form the broadest-based Cabinet possible, as Henry Newman writes on this site today.

That means keeping Hunt in a senior position, perhaps as Deputy Leader, and using him to work across government if he is required to move from the Foreign Office.  At any rate, it is precisely Hunt’s underdog status that should allow him, this evening, to bite a bit as well as bark.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Poll: Plurality of Republicans believe the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump on obstruction of justice

Westlake Legal Group rm-1 Poll: Plurality of Republicans believe the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump on obstruction of justice YouGov totally The Blog Robert Mueller republicans poll obstruction Justice exonerate democrats

It doesn’t surprise me that Republicans who say they’ve “watched a lot of coverage” of the report are more, rather than less, likely to believe Trump was totally exonerated on obstruction than the average Republican is even though it’s not true. Odds are, they’re watching Fox. And not the Shep/Chris Wallace dayside newsy hours of Fox either.

It does surprise me that Republicans who say they’ve read parts of the report are also more likely than the average Republican to believe it. Probably the single most famous line from the report’s 400+ pages is, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller went to the trouble of repeating that line on television a month later at his press conference as an extra nudge to House Democrats and the public that they should be troubled by the obstruction findings.

Did righties forget to read the obstruction section?

Westlake Legal Group y Poll: Plurality of Republicans believe the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump on obstruction of justice YouGov totally The Blog Robert Mueller republicans poll obstruction Justice exonerate democrats

The entire reason House Democrats are so eager to have Mueller testify this month is because they’re aware of this disjunction between what Mueller said and what people, especially Republicans, believe. Only 19 percent of Americans in this poll admitted to having read all or most of the report. If you want Mueller’s conclusions to penetrate, they have to be repackaged as video clips and transmitted to the public via the media circus that will attend his testimony on July 17. Or so Dems hope. I’m skeptical that it’ll change much.

As to why Republicans might be confused about Mueller’s “no exoneration” verdict on obstruction, there are different possibilities:

1. Barr did exonerate Trump on obstruction in his summary of Mueller’s report, of course. Maybe GOPers were treating this question less as a test of what Mueller said than what the DOJ ultimately decided as an institution.

2. Some may not have paid close enough attention to the question to notice they were being asked about obstruction, not collusion. If all they heard was “Did Mueller exonerate Trump?”, they may have focused on the collusion part of the report in answering “yes.”

3. Maybe out-and-out disinformation from partisan media sites convinced them that Mueller really did clear Trump on obstruction, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

4. Trump repeated the “total exoneration” talking point a lot in the first few days after Barr’s summary was released. Whether that message convinced Republicans and colored their impressions of what’s in the report or whether they’re merely parroting Trump’s point back to pollsters to be good soldiers, it’s the Trump factor at work. Relatedly, when asked if they thought Russia interfered in the election — the most unambiguous finding in Mueller’s report — Republicans split just 51/49. “What’s the best answer for Trump?” will obviously weigh on partisans’ minds when they answer questions about this.

Is there a term, by the way, to describe when someone gives a pollster the answer that their party would want them to give, whether or not that’s their honest opinion? There are all sorts of reasons why people sometimes aren’t honest with pollsters; a famous one is “social desirability bias.” We live in an age, though, in which public awareness of polling and its ability to drive the news and influence political parties’ strategy has probably never been greater. Favorable polls are touted routinely in activist political media on both sides. The president tweets often (and selectively) about his own polls and has encouraged supporters to disregard unfavorable polls as fake news. The polls famously failed to detect Trump’s looming victory in 2016 even though they got close to predicting Hillary’s popular vote win. The more that Americans see polls overtly as tools of partisan information warfare, the more likely they are, it seems to me, to answer poll questions in line with what their parties want them to say — what they’re “supposed” to say — than what the might really think. That might explain the outsized GOP number here claiming that Mueller totally exonerated Trump on obstruction. As well as why Trump has nearly unanimous job approval and disapproval in polls of Republicans and Democrats, respectively.

The post Poll: Plurality of Republicans believe the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump on obstruction of justice appeared first on Hot Air.

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YouGov’s poll. Johnson’s electoral advantage over Hunt has vanished.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-06-28-at-17.32.22 YouGov’s poll. Johnson’s electoral advantage over Hunt has vanished. YouGov ToryDiary Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls Jeremy Hunt MP Conservative leadership election 2019 Boris Johnson MP

We reproduce above YouGov findings about which Mark Wallace wrote on this site last week.  As he reported, “the identity of the new Prime Minister makes a difference to the polls. But Brexit is a far more dominant factor”.

According to the research above, Jeremy Hunt would deliver, were Brexit achieved and were he Prime Minister, a Conservative majority of 14 in a spring election – if the findings in question are punched into the Electoral Calculus reckoner.

By contrast, Boris Johnson would deliver – were Brexit achieved and were he Prime Minister – a Tory majority of 122, using the same method.

Were Brexit not achieved, the Conservatives would be obliterated, regardless of which one of them was Prime Minister.  Now look at this week’s table below.

This time round, Johnson’s advantage has vanished.  If Brexit is achieved, he leads the Tories to a majority of 82.  Hunt now leads them, under the same circumstances, to one of 86.

We suspect that the reason for the change is largely a change in profile.  A week ago, Hunt was simply less well known than he is now.  So the recognition factor is at work.

And the whole exercise can be dismissed as a dabble in hypotheticals.  None the less, its central message – that what matters most to the Conservatives is delivering Brexit, not changing their leaders – sounds spot-on.

Having reported last week’s finding, it seems only fair to report this one too.  We expect YouGov to have another go next week.  We ourselves will be undertaking a further Next Tory Leader survey.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-06-28-at-17.31.28 YouGov’s poll. Johnson’s electoral advantage over Hunt has vanished. YouGov ToryDiary Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls Jeremy Hunt MP Conservative leadership election 2019 Boris Johnson MP   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Meanwhile, the Conservative poll rating is at under a quarter of the vote

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-06-26-at-07.48.20 Meanwhile, the Conservative poll rating is at under a quarter of the vote YouGov ToryDiary Politico Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Hunt MP Highlights Electoral Calculus Conservatives Conservative leadership election 2019 Brexit Party Brexit Boris Johnson MP

Source: Politico

The Conservative leadership election is so attention-seizing, at least for this site, that there is a danger of forgetting about its wider context.

Which as matters stand is that the polls show that politics in Britain is now a four-way contest, rather than the two-way one of the 2017 election.  (In Scotland, it looks more like like a five-way contest.)

The Party’s last five poll ratings are 24 per cent, 20 per cent, 20 per cent, 21 per cent and 17 per cent.  It last led in a national poll on April 5.

Can Boris Johnson turn it round?  Not if there’s an election next spring and Brexit hasn’t been delivered, according to a YouGov poll reported on this site last Friday.

Under his leadership, the Tories would take 20 per cent of the vote, rather than 18 per cent under Jeremy Hunt, but it would make little difference to the wider scheme of things.

Punch those YouGov figures into Electoral Calculus calculator – admittedly a crude way of proceeding – and one finds the Brexit Party 38 seats short of a majority. The Conservatives would be reduced to 39 seats.

Now polls of course are, as our proprietor always puts it, a snapshot and not a prediction.  None the less, the context in which the present contest is set is one of the possible collapse of one the oldest political parties in the world.

But always look on the bright side of life.  Were Brexit delivered, the same poll finds that Jeremy Hunt could deliver, according to Electoral Calculus again, a Tory majority of 14 and Boris Johnson one of 122.

The reason? Brexit would collapse the Brexit Party vote – to 12 per cent under a Hunt premiership and to nine per cent under a Johnson one.

The YouGov poll didn’t distinguish between a No Deal Brexit and a Theresa May Deal Brexit – or some other form of deal.

And one can make a persuasive case that a general election in the wake of a No Deal Brexit would see the Party pulverised, too.

But be that as it may, there can be little doubt, given Lord Ashcroft’s polling too, about the result if there is No Brexit at all.  The Conservatives wil be out of office – perhaps for a long time and possibly for ever, in their current form.

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The identity of the new Prime Minister makes a difference to the polls. But Brexit is a far more dominant factor.

Westlake Legal Group Marcus-con-vote-brexit-vs-leader-01-1024x875 The identity of the new Prime Minister makes a difference to the polls. But Brexit is a far more dominant factor. YouGov ToryDiary Opinion Polls Nigel Farage MEP Jeremy Hunt MP Brexit Party Boris Johnson MP

The chart above shows the results of some fascinating new polling which YouGov has kindly shared with ConservativeHome at the outset of the final, month-long round in the leadership election.

Up-front, it shows that Boris Johnson is expected by voters to bring some additional electoral advantage over Jeremy Hunt, though not to a vast degree. Instead, as Marcus Roberts notes for our panel, the far more powerful determinant of voting intention is the question of whether the Conservative Party fulfils its promise to carry out Brexit and take this country out of the European Union.

You might think this is obvious, but bear in mind that the outgoing Prime Minister, at least, seemed to think that a failure to keep such a promise was an electorally viable thing to do and the need for such polling becomes clear.

The Brexit Party stands to lose a majority of its vote share when Brexit happens – again something which you might imagine to be obvious (the clue’s in the name, after all) but which apparently is not so clear to those warning that the Conservatives cannot and should not “try to out-Brexit the Brexit Party” in response to Farage’s resurrection. On the contrary, it seems that the only answer to the phenomenon is to out-Brexit them, perhaps not in campaigning style or rhetorical purity but through the key distinguishing factor available to the Conservatives and not to their new rivals: being in Parliament and being in (at least some degree of) power.

In practice, I suspect this poll might even understate the degree to which fulfilling Brexit will determine a future election. YouGov finds that in the hypothetical scenario of a post-Brexit election with Boris Johnson as leader, nine per cent of people still intend to vote Brexit Party. This might be an expression of current scepticism that this would happen, or that it would be done properly. It might be a genuine reflection of an intention to continue backing Farage against the so-called legacy parties. But it assumes that the Brexit Party in its current bullish form, with its current platform, would still exist. At minimum I’d suggest there would be opportunities to squeeze that vote down hard in such a scenario.

What also interesting is that while these findings suggest that getting Brexit done would help the Conservative Party to address its Brexit Party problem, the same does not help Labour address its Lib Dem problem. Crucially, neither would delaying Brexit further – in both scenarios, Labour stay just about neck and neck with the yellow peril, which is a grim prospect for the Opposition. Perhaps, Labour Remainers would counter, that could change by becoming an openly Remainer party, but we simply don’t know if that’s the case. As it stands, neither leaving nor staying shows Labour reassert itself.

There’s one final point to note, which is about the specific terms of the question YouGov have put. “Imagine that a General Election is held in Spring next year…” That does matter, and will play into the ponderings of various people around the Tory leadership candidates. This timing would mean that the second scenario – in which “Brexit has not yet happened” – is an election in which either Prime Minister Johnson or Prime Minister Hunt has conceded yet another delay, of six months or more after 31st October, in effect continuing in the vein of Theresa May’s failure.

I do wonder if there would be any differences to these results if you were to test opinion on an election before 31st October, with Brexit yet to happen but hingeing on the outcome – a not-impossible event. Evidently a huge amount would depend on whether the new Conservative leader could convince Brexit Party supporters they could be trusted to get the job done – and in attempting that task they would be contending with the toxicity of May’s legacy and the sometimes mercurial whims of Nigel Farage. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t already being tested in private.

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ConHome’s leadership election panel. “Boris could learn from his almost-rival.”

Each week on Friday, ConservativeHome’s panel of John O’Sullivan, Rachel Wolf, Trevor Phillips, Tim Montgomerie and Marcus Roberts will be analysing and assessing what’s happening in the leadership election.

Rachel Wolf

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-03-08-at-18.02.41-300x278 ConHome’s leadership election panel. “Boris could learn from his almost-rival.” YouGov Trevor Phillips Tim Montgomerie Rachel Wolf Michael Gove MP Marcus A. Roberts John O'Sullivan Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Boris Johnson MP   “I’ve watched Michael get things done in government over the last nine years. Here’s my top three lessons.”

I’m in the unusual position of having worked for Boris (my first boss) and Michael (my second). I count myself lucky: both were nice to work for, and both are extraordinary.

I was looking forward to a Boris/Michael race: I thought it would force both candidates to really think through and justify what they would do in government.

Now Boris should march relatively unchallenged to no 10. I hope he does –the Party won’t survive another Remain voter being gifted to the country.

So I’m not going to address the leadership race, but it’s probable aftermath. Here, Boris could learn from his almost-rival. I’ve watched Michael get things done in government over the last nine years. Here’s my top three lessons:

1) In the balance between talent, loyalty, and politics, spend more time on talent. Too many Prime Ministers and ministers have rewarded people (politicians and advisers) because of loyalty or party management. Both are important. But in the end, so is your record.

Gove consistently brought in more talented people, in more positions, than any other cabinet minister. Not just advisers, but former business people, heads, and academics. They weren’t necessarily people he’d known for decades. This is the untold key to how he got things done.

In no 10 it is perfectly credible to have a Nobel prize winner serving you (or equivalent). Pick them. Give them power over things that matter.

Boris did this to a significant extent in City Hall. He needs to apply this lesson to a much greater degree in government.

2) Have a clear narrative and show progress. Michael’s tenure in education was focused on school autonomy; in justice on prisoner rehabilitation; and in environment on, well, saving the environment. In each case his narrative became the dominant reforming narrative in government because he could articulate what he was trying to do and show progress in getting there. It wasn’t just a menu of policies – it was a direction.

3) Leave the country in a better state than you found it. This is Gove’s mantra in environment. In general, too many politicians seem to want positions for their own sake. Currently, people are betting on Boris because they think he can win elections – not because of what he might do with power. This is a mistake.

That’s it. Not rocket science. But most politicians fail miserably on these criteria, and it is what Boris does with power will determine the Conservative Party’s future.

Marcus Roberts

Westlake Legal Group Marcus-Roberts-Panel-300x300 ConHome’s leadership election panel. “Boris could learn from his almost-rival.” YouGov Trevor Phillips Tim Montgomerie Rachel Wolf Michael Gove MP Marcus A. Roberts John O'Sullivan Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Boris Johnson MP   “The next Conservative prime minister would be well advised to use this current House of Commons to deliver Brexit – deal or no deal.”

It’s Brexit, not Boris, that saves the Tory Party.

Last week I argued that Boris Johnson’s ascension would not automatically equate to the return of Brexit Party defectors come a general election. I said that the key to winning back these Farage Tories in the long term, after a potential honeymoon, likely lay in the actual delivery of Brexit rather than a promise to do so after another general election.

Paul Goodman, good editor that he is, then challenged me to explore this theory further and so (with all the attendant caveats of the dangers of polling hypotheticals!) here it is. 

In a nutshell, the data bears the theory out. If the Conservatives deliver Brexit under Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson, Farage Tories return. If the Conservatives fail to deliver Brexit and are forced into a general election instead, their Brexit Party defectors cleave to Farage. 

In terms of how the front-runners and the scenarios line up we can see that Johnson does perform slightly better than Hunt, but not by a significant extent. Who the leader is seems to make 2-4 percentage points of difference. The key is whether Brexit has been delivered or not, that changes Conservative support levels by 12-14 points. 

In short, Johnson may be a little more appealing, but the impact of that is insignificant compared to whether or not Brexit is delivered.

The upshot is this: the next Conservative prime minister would be well advised to use this current House of Commons to deliver Brexit – deal or no deal. The alternative of a ‘We’re almost there!’ general election even under Boris ‘Believe in Britain’ Johnson could well result in dramatic Brexit Party gains. 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,641 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 19th June 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)

Trevor Phillips

Westlake Legal Group Trevor-Phillips-Panel-300x300 ConHome’s leadership election panel. “Boris could learn from his almost-rival.” YouGov Trevor Phillips Tim Montgomerie Rachel Wolf Michael Gove MP Marcus A. Roberts John O'Sullivan Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Boris Johnson MP   “Watching this leadership contest is a daily reminder that there is a difference; anyone who says they can’t tell one lot apart from the other just isn’t paying attention.”

If you’ve been a TV producer and presenter for almost four decades it’s impossible to watch TV like a normal human being. But not even a blind hermit raised by wolves would have considered this week’s weirdly formatted BBC debate a reasonable test of the remaining candidates.

But my producer’s reflex would definitely have had me shouting down Emily Maitlis’ earpiece to stop banging on at Boris about the burka. As I wrote here last week:

“…his media inquisitors… appear to many to be defending this misogynistic “expression of Muslimness” – and creating a completely false impression of Islam as a wholly sexist, oppressive creed.”

Little did I guess how quickly and thoroughly the error would backfire. At the end of the week a victorious Johnson surveyed a battleground littered with wounded enemies, principally the BBC.

The imam brought into the debate to have a go at the front runner turned out to be a prolific tweeter of, well, vile sexist and anti-semitic messages. His fellow travellers at the Muslim Council of Britain and in the House of Lords, who eagerly pounced on what they thought would be Johnson’s discomfort, were left to slink back to the shadows, licking their wounds.

As for the run-off, it’s hard to see how the Johnson juggernaut can be derailed. I regret that Conservative MPs failed to put Sajid Javid into the members’ ballot; that would have reassured the wider electorate that the next Prime Minister will not just be the biggest gorilla in a troop of publicly-schooled white boys.

All the same, Javid did well in the campaign. And, let’s face it, if Tories are as prone to racial stereotypes as their enemies would like to think, almost everyone will breathe a sigh of relief that the evidently numerate, clever, Asian boy, with a talent for finance capital, looks like he might be put in charge of the purse strings.

I did learn something new from the series of votes this week. In Labour, we tend to define ourselves by factional loyalty – we are Corbynistas, Watsonites, rugged old-school rightists. Even a few remaindered New Labourites like yours truly remain un-defenestrated (having been expelled, Alastair Campbell is appealing, not a phrase you often hear). We back our faction right or wrong; and we agonise about changing gangs.

Tories are different. None of the candidates seems to have a fan club; after each man or woman dropped out, their followers have given almost no weight to their fallen champion’s recommendations. The question being asked here is: what will he do for me and mine? I think that Boris Johnson’s great attraction – is that he wears the great, capacious coattails of a born winner. Who wouldn’t climb aboard?

This is not a sneer about the Tory character – at its best, Ken Clarke’s Burkean bloody-mindedness can be as noble as Harriet Harman’s Fabian socialism. And the spineless me-tooism characteristic of Labour’s soft left is as despicable as the rabid self-interest of some of the Tory parliamentary party.

But watching this leadership contest is a daily reminder that there is a difference; anyone who says they can’t tell one lot apart from the other just isn’t paying attention.

John O’Sullivan

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-07-27-at-08.30.25-298x300 ConHome’s leadership election panel. “Boris could learn from his almost-rival.” YouGov Trevor Phillips Tim Montgomerie Rachel Wolf Michael Gove MP Marcus A. Roberts John O'Sullivan Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Boris Johnson MP

“Hunt will very likely prove to be a strong opponent, even if an apparently doomed one.”

This was my ideal scenario for the semi-final and final rounds of the leadership contest.

Boris wins the semi-final convincingly with 212 votes; the other 106 votes are divided as follows: Jeremy Hunt comes in second with 51 votes; Michael Gove falls tantalizingly short at 50 to get a honorable third place; and there are five abstentions.

After their countrywide debating tour, which gets packed houses but which resembles a series of law and economics lectures rather than a boxing championship (and in which discussing Brexit is limited to 15 minutes each night) Boris wins still more convincingly. After each of these contests the contestants shake hands and all shall be given prizes.

It reminds you of “Alice in Wonderland” perhaps (with me as the Dodo.) And not unreasonably because in such a scenario all shall have prizes because all will have won: Boris the Tory leadership, Hunt the coveted second place, and Gove the reputation of a sporting loser who had told his supporters to back Boris for Tory unity and old times’ sake. But the party itself would be the biggest winner.

Well, the membership round is yet to come but the first part of my ideal scenario is coming along nicely. Think of the pitfalls that would be avoided if it continues to hold.

First, The contest performed before the Tory faithful would be between a Leaver and Remainer – a question that all sides agree has now been settled.

If it were Gove versus Boris, both being Leavers, the debate between them would be whittled down to whether a No Deal Brexit would be an acceptable outcome or a catastrophe. As encouraged and interpreted by a Brexit-averse media, that has the potential to degenerate into an unseemly brawl that would additionally weaken Boris’s hand in dealing with Tory Remainers after the verdict.

A similar risk obtains because of the events of June 2016. Even if both men behave with superhuman restraint and courtesy, as they almost certainly would, the questioners and the audiences may not. Theresa May’s handling of Brexit since Chequers has depended significantly on the loyalty of Gove, and has also left deep wounds in Tory constituency associations.

The ideal outcome sketched above would advance the healing of those wounds. And, politically speaking, Gove is a young man.

A third consideration – not the avoidance of a pitfall but positive progress towards a united party better able to navigate Brexit -would be that these events would mean the complete defeat of the attempt to block the Tory evolution into a Leave party with neither qualification nor apology. That attempt was the real import of the Rory Stewart caper, supported as it was by May, David Lidington and the Downing Street machine.

It should live to fight another day, but not this side of either Brexit or an election.

And, finally, we don’t want too much excitement. Hunt will very likely prove to be a strong opponent, even if an apparently doomed one. He’s been a good Foreign Secretary who has been bolder on some issues, such as the persecution of Christians, than his predecessors. But a Johnson/Hunt battle will be a reasonably calm and serious debate about practicalities rather than a Götterdämmerung.

About time.

Tim Montgomerie

Westlake Legal Group Tim-Montgomerie-Panel-300x300 ConHome’s leadership election panel. “Boris could learn from his almost-rival.” YouGov Trevor Phillips Tim Montgomerie Rachel Wolf Michael Gove MP Marcus A. Roberts John O'Sullivan Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Boris Johnson MP

“I’m very proud to have led a campaign fourteen years ago to thwart Michael Howard’s attempt to end the say of grassroots Tories in the selection of the Conservative Party.”

Dear fellow Tories or – as many in the media prefer to describe us – my fellow ‘bigots, deplorables and right-wing has-beens’… are you ready for the onslaught?

As we enter the final stage of the race to be the next Conservative leader, there are many who hate the idea that 160,000 Tory members will decide whether it will be Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt who will succeed Theresa May – and they won’t be afraid to keep saying so.

If, for just one minute, you can stop ‘frothing at the mouth about Europe’ and eating babies for breakfast (yawn, yawn, yawn) I’ve got these three facts that you might want to deploy at those haters on social media who insist that we are the haters. Bless ‘em.

1) A Labour friend who knows about these things has persuasively argued that Tory members have been more likely to select ethnic minority and openly gay candidates in open selection meetings than Labour members.

It’s certainly true that from Stratford-upon-Avon to Windsor, and from Arundel and South Downs to Stourbridge, the Tory grassroots have selected and re-selected BME and LGBT Tories. Ruth Davidson regularly tops this website’s survey of which ‘Top Tories’ are performing best.

And by the way – do remind me – which of the two main parties has had two women leaders and which has had none? Only one of them will feature prominently on the walls of Tory Associations in the years ahead though.

2) Tory members are not sealed off from the rest of modern Britain in some sepia-coloured Olde England. Fourteen years ago party members chose David Cameron over David Davis as party leader by two-to-one. They did so, even though the ex-SAS man was almost certainly closer to them ideologically than the former PR man.

They chose Cameron because Tory members (more than their red rosette-wearing equivalents) love being in power – especially when the alternative to having a Tory in Number 10 is that Jeremy Corbyn will be there.

Non-Tory members will have a say in this contest via opinion polls. If YouGov or other polling companies find that Hunt enjoys more support from voters than Boris, then that will weigh heavily on grassroots’ minds. By the time you’re 57 (our average age) youthful idealism is healthily seasoned with pragmatism.

3) About half of the country has a Tory MP. Half doesn’t. But there are Tory members in every part of Britain – in Labour and SNP strongholds as well as in marginals. When Tory MPs choose a leader at least part of their brain is thinking about who is most likely to keep their seat blue. A good share of Tory members are thinking about how to turn even more of Britain blue. You need both sets of those thoughts.

No system of election is perfect but I’m very proud to have led a campaign fourteen years ago to thwart Michael Howard’s attempt to end the say of grassroots Tories in the selection of the Conservative Party. The victory was one of ConHome’s proudest. The Tory system for choosing who inherits the crown worn by the likes of Disraeli, Churchill and Thatcher means that the winner enjoys a critical level of support from parliamentary colleagues but also acknowledges the wisdom, experience and voluntary commitment of the party’s rank-and-file membership. Let’s stick up for that system and for ourselves!

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