A new poll has suggested Tories would have a better chance of winning the next election under Liz Truss than Rishi Sunak.
Some 32 per cent of voters – and 58 per cent of those backing the Conservatives in the 2019 general election – said they could see themselves supporting the Tories under the current foreign secretary’s leadership, compared to 28 per cent under the former chancellor, including 52 per cent of 2019 Tories.
A quarter (25 per cent) of those who voted Conservative under Boris Johnson’s leadership in the last general election said they could not see themselves doing so with Sunak at the helm, while 19 per cent of 2019 Tories would not support a Truss-led party.
The finding will come as a blow to the Sunak campaign, who have presented their candidate’s electability as a key asset in the battle with Ms Truss for the keys to 10 Downing Street.
In a speech in Grantham today, as supporters waved placards reading “Beat Starmer’s Labour”, Mr Sunak declared: “I am the only person who can beat Labour.”
Responding to the new survey from Redfield and Wilton Strategies, a Truss campaign spokesperson said: “This polling shows Liz has the widest appeal among voters nationwide, but is also the best candidate to hold the 2019 Conservative coalition together and beat Sir Keir Starmer.
“She’ll do this by governing in a Conservative way, cutting taxes and allowing people to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
The poll of 1,500 people across Britain on 20-21 July also appeared to indicate that Ms Truss’s characterisation of Mr Sunak as the “business as usual” candidate was breaking through with voters.
Some 42 per cent of those questioned said they expected a Sunak administration to pursue a policy approach mostly similar to Mr Johnson’s, compared to 34 per cent who said the same about Ms Truss.
More than one-third (36 per cent) said Ms Truss’s premiership would be “mostly different” from Mr Johnson’s in policy terms, against 30 per cent who said this would be the case under Sunak.