Boris Johnson could cost the Tories victory in a general election if held before the UK has left the EU

REUTERS – Rebecca Naden

New research by ComRes commissioned by Britain Elects has revealed Boris Johnson, if elected Conservative Party leader next week, could cost the Tories a general election victory if held before the UK has left the EU.

The research, posed to a representative sample of the voting public, asked respondents how they’d vote in a general election on a number of conditions. The results vary:

“Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, a General Election is held before the 31st of October, and Brexit has not been delivered”
Figures exclude undecideds and non-voters
Labour: 28%
Brexit Party: 22%
Conservative: 18%
Liberal Democrat: 18%

“Boris Johnson is Prime Minister and a General Election is held after delivering Brexit on the 31st October”
Figures exclude undecideds and non-voters
Conservative: 32%
Labour: 29%
Liberal Democrat: 18%
Brexit Party: 10%

The 14pt difference in support for the Conservative Party (and the 12pt difference for the Brexit Party) demonstrates how significant the subject of Brexit will be to the future of Boris Johnson’s political career. If it is perceived by a large enough share of the public that Brexit is being delivered (such a perception of delivery likely to mean a number of different things to different people), then, as the above research suggests, the next leader of the Conservative Party will reap the rewards of defecting Brexit Party voters. If not, then that person, and the Conservative Party, can expect electoral punishment.

The figure of 32% for the Conservatives on the condition ‘a general election is held after delivering Brexit on the 31st October’ would represent the largest share a political party has obtained in an opinion poll for the past two months.

Other questions included in the research revealed continuing public antipathy towards Theresa May’s Brexit deal, a mixed response to the prospect of a no-deal exit, but a plurality of agreement with Boris Johnson’s statement that Britain should leave the European Union ‘do or die’ by the 31st of October.

The research found 42% of voters agree “the Conservative Party must take the UK out of the EU ‘do or die’ by the 31st of October. Two thirds of 2017 Conservative voters also agree, as well 94% of Brexit Party voters. 32% of voters disagree.

“If Boris Johnson is the next Prime Minister and is unable to get a better deal from the European Union by the 31st of October, the UK should just leave without a deal”
Agree: 37%
Disagree: 37%

“If Boris Johnson is the next Prime Minister and is unable to get a better deal from the European Union by the 31st of October, he should resign and hold an immediate General Election”
Agree: 47%
Disagree: 36%

“If Boris Johnson is the next Prime Minister and is unable to get a better deal from the European Union by the 31st of October, he should leave with Theresa May’s deal”
Agree: 26%
Disagree: 38%

“If Boris Johnson is the next Prime Minister and is unable to get a better deal from the European Union by the 31st of October, he should ask the EU for an extension to the UK’s leaving date”
Agree: 33%
Disagree: 36%


Notes:
ComRes poll commissioned by Britain Elects
Sample Size: 2,038 GB Adults
Fieldwork: 15 – 16 July, 2019
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