Boris Johnson cycles into Westminster | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Boris Johnson would shore up Tory vote as leader: Poll
The former British foreign secretary could stem losses to Brexit Party, but he is highly unpopular with Remainers.
Updated 5/17/19, 1:25 PM CET
Boris Johnson is the only prospective Tory leadership candidate capable of holding together the coalition of voters who backed the U.K.’s ruling Conservative Party at the last election, according to an exclusive POLITICO-Hanbury poll.
The results suggest that of six leading Tory figures, all except the former foreign secretary would lose the party votes compared with the 2017 general election if they became leader.
Johnson, a leading Brexiteer, does particularly well among respondents who say they plan to vote for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the upcoming European Parliament election — but he is also very unpopular with people who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The results come a day after Theresa May agreed, under pressure from her backbenchers, to set a timetable for her departure. Meanwhile Johnson — long assumed to have designs on the Tory leadership — indicated that he would stand when the prime minister eventually steps down. The leading Brexiteer told a business event in Manchester, “Of course I’m going to go for it.”
The results of the national poll, which was carried out between May 10 and May 13, suggest the Tories face a catastrophic result in the European election next week. Respondents placed them fourth with just 13 percent of the vote.