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We can’t assume that the next CON leader will enjoy the same personal premium that Cameron has had

September 29th, 2015

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ComRes Indy on Sunday/S Mirror poll Sept 19 2015

This could make GE2020 less of a certainty

The big known unknown of British politics is what is going to happen when David Cameron, as he’s said he will, steps down and won’t pursue a third term.

Quite what the timing will be we don’t know but it is highly likely that a new Tory leader will have emerged by the time of the next election and based on current betting the money is going on the Chancellor George Osborne.

What we know about Cameron, particularly from the regular Ipsos-MORI “like him like his party” polling is that he has been a net asset to the Conservative Party not a negative. Having him as leader has added to the overall appeal of the blue team. That contrasted sharply with Labour at the general election when having a Miliband as leader acted as a negative. Ed was less popular than his party while Dave was more popular.

    This, I would suggest, adds to the risk to the Conservatives of Cameron’s departure. The chances are that his successor will NOT enjoy the same personal premium.

The ComRes survey for the Indy on Sunday featured above highlights an issue in relation to George Osborne. Those net favorability numbers are not good for him. In fact he is only one point better than Jeremy Corbyn who is widely regarded as an electoral negative for Labour.

We do know that the appeal of a party leader is central in an election and why numbers like the ones above can be a better indicator of what will happen than the voting intention surveys.

It might, of course, be that if George gets the job then the aura of being Prime Minister will give him a considerable boost but it might not.

Polls numbers like the ComRes favourability ones will take on a greater significance as we get closer to the changeover.

Mike Smithson