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Polls suggest Boris as leader could be worth an extra 50 Tory MPs

15 October 2012

In their first poll conducted fully after all the party conferences, YouGov once again tested what difference replacing David Cameron with Boris Johnson would have on the Conservatives’ poll rating. As in their previous two attempts in September, YouGov’s numbers show Boris narrowing the gap to Labour by seven points: with Cameron as leader, the Tories trail by nine (33-42); with Boris, they’re just two behind (38-40).

Interestingly, Boris doesn’t do any better among 2010 Tory voters than Dave — both retain 65 per cent of them. What the Mayor of London does is attract more 2010 Labour voters (6 per cent of them, to Cameron’s 3) and Lib Dem voters (18 per cent, to Cameron’s 10) than the Prime Minister. This is reflected in the fact that, when asked who would make the better leader, 2010 Tory voters chose Cameron over Boris by 44 to 35, whereas the electorate as a whole narrowly favours Boris by 36-34.


As Sebastian noted last month, the Boris bump wouldn’t be enough to prevent a Labour majority in 2015. It’s also worth bearing in mind that hypothetical polling has its drawbacks. Anthony Wells has pointed out that it essentially asks people to guess what a Boris-led Tory party would be like and whether they would support it. The Boris bump may also be a case of ‘the seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake’, which would disappear if he were actually leader.

Nonetheless, that seven-point boost could be the difference between winning and losing for around 50 Tory MPs. That’s significant, as it would only take 46 current MPs believing they might be among them, and deciding that saving their jobs is worth Cameron losing his, to bring about a vote of no confidence.

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  • wrinkledweasel

    I remember when the Beatles came along. Before the Beatles, you had Alma Cogan and Dickie Valentine. If you were lucky. The Beatles re-defined what it meant to perform a pop song.

    Today, Dave Cameron is Alma Cogan and the Lib Dem fellow, whose name at this point I genuinely forget, is Dickie Valentine. They all appear on a show that has equivalence with The Billy Cotton Band Show, but is for the sake of propriety, called the House of Commons.

    Boris is to real people what the Beatles were to the young of the 1960’s. He’s fresh, funny and has a mop top. And he actually looks and behaves like a normal bloke and not a sophisticated “I speak your weight” machine.

    I always imagine a politician at breakfast, talking the way they do on Newsnight:
    “Would you like some Cheerios, darling?
    “Cheerios are important, and with the addition of milk, they become nutritious, so, yes, I would like some Cheerios”.

    See? They are not real people. They never were real people and they don’t look like real people or speak like them. So yes, I would prefer someone who spoke and looked like a human being, prone to gaffs, sometimes daft, but with an almighty intellectual grasp of the real issues and a mind to deal with them.

    Bring on Boris!

    • bloughmee

      The albino is of the same class and character as Dave the Cameroon.

      But your analogy holds. The albino is a pop politician, suitable for the screaming schoolgirl set.

  • dalai guevara

    Boris is having the time of his life. Why not let him enjoy it?

  • HooksLaw

    In terms of policy what would it change?
    I see the Portuguese, so horrified by UK ‘austerity’ are doling out another great dollop of their own.
    Faced with the reality of sorting out Brown’s beneficence then policy would be exactly the same.

  • James102

    It is easy enough to see what is in it for Clegg after the coalition: a new home for him and his family in Spain and a good job with the EU, but what does Cameron get? He has no obvious options so must cling on to the bitter end, hoping something will turn up.
    The revelation that Osborne chose the cabinet without much input or interest from Cameron does make you wonder if he really cares a great deal about the role he has.
    Unless Osborne is delusional he must know he won’t get the leadership if Cameron and the Conservatives go down so what are the options available to them?
    Wait for the economy to show a bit more life and chuck everything into a snap election including a referendum. They could use the failure to get any powers back from the EU as the reason.

  • jason green

    The big question is, how does the blond bombshell win a seat in Parliament before 2015, without displaying naked ambition and leaving the party riven?

    • James102

      But even if Johnson is in parliament what are the consequences of a leadership challenge? If Cameron goes Clegg will pull the plug as Johnson can only win with the support of the Independence movement within the Conservative party.

  • Mirtha Tidville

    I never thought we could find another one even more incompetent than Brown, but by hell we have……

  • Magnolia

    The blond gorilla gives a lousy speech to conference and they hang on every word while poor old Davey wrings out a rather good one and conference looks glum.
    I think Dave set himself the task of rescuing Britain from social and societal failures, hence the big push for the BS, an idea which I rather like, but we all know that it will flop without economic rescue and that required action and nerves of steel from the off.
    We haven’t had that because spending, debt and taxes are rising and in the end that means less tax take and more interest paid to creditors, which feels very bad.
    George and David lost the election and the reasons why are now plain for all to see.
    It’s no wonder that a charming and articulate politician with ‘come to bed eyes’ is succeeding in the polls when there is a such a vacuum in true conservative expression from those that rule over us (with apologies to her majesty).

  • bloughmee

    If we wait a few weeks, there’ll likely come free a certain Kenyan muslim, free for PM duty, if we don’t mind a gently used US castoff.

    As a bonus, he’s more conservative than either of Dave or the albino.

  • James102

    They must have heard about his expertise in the Gangnam dance.

  • Vulture

    Don’t worry. The MPs of the Stupid Party (as John Stuart Mill accurately dubbed the Tories) can be relied upon to stick firmly to Dave as he drives the Conservative coach up to and over the Beachy Head precipice of the 2015 election.
    Not even the certainty of electoral suicide will make them ditch him.
    You can’t teach those Lemmings new tricks. They are stuck with Dave as Labour were stuck with Gordon Brown – and will suffer the same consequences. Maybe Boris will pick up the pieces, but by then it will be too late.

    • James102

      Game playing how to get rid of Cameron without triggering an election is difficult, which is why he is still there.

    • telemachus

      Boris is a press attaché
      Ask who actually runs London
      Ask the folk of Liverpool what kind of star he is
      He would not last 2 minutes trying to control the ‘bastards’ within the Tory party.
      Fox and Davis will make mincemeat of him.

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