New polling reveals Tories’ preferred leader – and it’s a big blow to one MP | Politics | News

Kemi Badenoch has been dealt a blow today as new polling of Conservative Party members suggests she is much less popular than presumed.

JL Partners polled 502 party members and discovered that Suella Braverman and Tom Tugendhat appear to be the frontrunners among the crucial electorate who will decide the next leader of the opposition.

Suella Braverman is the run-away favourite according to the polling, beating all other candidates by health margins.

However it’s increasingly looking like she will find it very difficult to get to the membership round, as many of her previous MP backers are deserting her.

Should she somehow sneak through the middle and get to the final two, the poll suggests she would beat Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat and James Cleverly.

Despite Mr Tugendhat being seen as a more centre-ground candidate, the poll is also very positive for him.

While he loses to Ms Braverman, JL Partners finds that he in fact ties with Kemi Badenoch on 30%, and beats right-wing wild card candidate Robert Jenrick by 8%.

Kemi Badenoch, despite being seen as the presumptive right-wing candidate among MPs, looks set to underperform among Tory members, only managing to beat Robert Jenrick in the final two run-off.

In separate polling, the general public places Ms Braverman and Mr Tugendhat as their top two candidates, on 10% and 9% respectively, though ‘don’t know’ secures a whopping 61%.

The poll of Tory members suggests that Robert Jenrick has a lot of work to do, both to get noticed and to garner support.

James Johnson, co-founder of JL Partners, says: “Overall this is a good poll for Suella Braverman and Tom Tugendhat, a bad poll for Rob Jenrick – and an underwhelming poll for Kemi Badenoch, given her reputation as a favourite amongst Tory members”.

“At this point in the race, while it might not be reflected in the media narrative, if you look at members and voters – it’s Suella Braverman and Tom Tugendhat who are the ones to watch.”

Ms Braverman’s dominance is aided by her strong lead among both Conservative voters, and among former Tories who switched to Reform UK.

The radical former Home Secretary leads by 5 points among current Tory voters, and 17% among Reform UK switchers.

Priti Patel comes second among this former group, securing 11% support.

Meanwhile Mr Tugendhat, Ms Badenoch and Ms Braverman tie on 10% among those 2019 Tory voters who switched to Labour last week.

The Tories are yet to set the rules of the leadership contest, which could drastically change the chances of some candidates.

The party met yesterday to elect a new 1922 Chairman, after Sir Graham Brady stood down, with Bob Blackman winning and now set to meet the party board to decide a timetable for the contest.

A longer contest could help underdog candidates like Robert Jenrick, James Cleverly and Priti Patel as they would have longer to communicate and persuade MPs and members to back them.

At the moment, it appears likely that a new leader won’t be in place until, or after, the party’s Birmingham conference in October.

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