Liz Truss Is Favorite to Be Next UK Prime Minister, Polling Suggests

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrives to attend a Tory Leadership hustings event on July 21, 2022 in London, England. Conservative MPs Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss became the final two candidates in the party leadership race after a vote in parliament yesterday. The two will …
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Conservative Party members who will make the choice on the next Tory leader and hence Prime Minister prefer Liz Truss over rival Rishi Sunak, polling suggests.

The Parliamentary Conservative Party spent the last two weeks whittling down a field of 12 candidates to just two, and with the elite of the party having handpicked their two favourite candidates the final choice on which of them gets to be leader is now being handed over to the party’s 180,000-odd members in the wider country.

The vote is expected to be completed and a new leader ready to assume power by September 5th.

While erstwhile Chancellor of the Exchequer and Boris Johnson’s right-hand-man-turned political assassin Rishi Sunak is by far the favourite of that parliamentary elite — coming first in every round of voting among MPs — it is actually the second-place candidate, Liz Truss, who is favourite to win the final ballot of members, a poll claims.

The figures from YouGov show Truss approaching the landslide Boris Johnson enjoyed when he faced down wet Remain voter Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership race of 2019, predicting her taking 62 per cent of the vote to Sunak’s 38 per cent.

The figure excludes those who presently say they would not vote at all and 15 per cent who currently identify as do not knows, suggesting there are plenty of votes yet to be won in the contest.

These figures resemble polling from earlier in the competition which prognosticated that Truss would win 54 per cent against Sunak’s 35 if they made it to the final two, as they now have.

The polling does hold further bad news for Sunak, however: should the figures hold true across the whole enfranchised group Conservative members are considerably more likely to think Truss would make a good leader compared to her opposite number. Some 23 per cent of those polled said they thought Truss would make a ‘very good leader’, while the same proportion — 23 per cent again — said Sunak would be a ‘very poor’ one.

In all, 62 per cent had a positive outlook on Truss’s leadership skills, while Sunak got 50 per cent.

There was also a gulf in perceptions of honesty, with 63 per cent saying they thought Truss could be trusted, compared to 48 for Sunak.

That Conservative members in the United Kingdom find themselves faced with a choice between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak now doesn’t mean they were the candidates they might have hoped for, however. Indeed, polling shows the candidates most Conservatives would like to have seen face off in the final round were Kemi Badenoch at 24 per cent, and Penny Mordaunt at 20 per cent.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak managed just 13 and 11 points respectively.

Polling from earlier this week showed newcomer Kemi Badenoch would have beaten Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak had she made it to the final.

Badenoch and to a lesser extent Mordaunt represented change from the status quo as candidates, with Badenoch arguing for a return to traditional small-c conservative values and Mordaunt a progressive view of politics.

Instead of having a choice between these divergent views of the future of the party, however, the Tory elite has whittled down the competition to two status-quo candidates, ruling out the possibility of meaningful change in time to catch the public imagination for the 2024 general election.

While both Truss and Sunak represent continuity with the Boris Johnson era — they both served in his government from start to finish, more or less, and offer no considerable change in vision — there are some minor differences the two contenders play on for differentiation and those are likely to be expanded upon in the coming weeks as they campaign for votes.

Sunak, despite having presided over soaring government spending and the highest tax burden in decades, is now presenting himself as the fiscally responsible candidate. He says he wants to fight inflation before considering tax cuts.

Truss, who supported Remain in the EU referendum in 2016 but now portrays herself as a true believer in the Brexit cause, says she wants to use the benefits of Brexit to deregulate Britain, which will provide the economic growth needed to fund more tax cuts. She has also raised the prospect of using cheap borrowing to fund tax cuts early or immediately. Sunak rejects this as a tax on future generations who would pay the loans off.

Summarising the competition, Brexit leader Nigel Farage called the contest between Suinak and Truss a bout between “the great globalist” and “Theresa May 2.0”.

Saying he believed Truss would ultimately win, he said: “I think the Conservative Party are making a dreadful mistake. I think it’s Theresa May 2.0… ‘Yes, she was a Remainer, but It’ll be OK.’ No, it won’t be OK and I don’t think she can connect with the red wall.”

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