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« Editorial: David Davis should fear a Cameron-Fox ticket | Main | 'Comeback kid' Davis will relaunch this week »


"It's too high risk a gambit."

I think Davis' team would conclude they would probably be beaten by Fox, and would certainly be beaten by Cameron so the biggest gamble would be going into a head to head with anyone other than Clarke.

Of course, it might be that they no longer have the numbers to follow such a strategy,

Adrian Sherman

In '97, five of Clarke's closest supporters backed Redwood in the first round, thus knocking the two stronger 'Right wingers', Lilley and Howard, out.

It's a very high risk strategy, and the maximum that can do it is 5. Any more is just plain arrogant and silly.

James Hellyer

In the 2001 leadership election, Iain Duncan Smith’s canvas returns had 60 votes in the bag for him for the final ballot.

IDS polled less then that because 5 MPs, led by Roger Gale, voted for Clarke, because they were determined to keep Portillo out at any costs.

That's all there is to it!


Interesting that Fox has gained no extra support at all from the steep decline in Davis'.I would have thought disillusioned right wingers would have been more likely to go to Fox than anybody else.
Remember everybody this is till very early days and Camerons support which has materialised on the back of one speech can easily disappear.

James Hellyer

Interesting that Fox has gained no extra support at all from the steep decline in Davis'.I would have thought disillusioned right wingers would have been more likely to go to Fox than anybody else.

But that's what confirms the people polled were largely influenced by the media coverage. Dr Fox's speech was largely overshadowed in the media by the comparison between Davis and Cameron, which inevitably bigged up Cameron.

It's the same effect that gave Ken Clarke a 12 point boost after the media frenzy that greeted his launch.

All it shows is how fickle polls are!

Cllr Iain Lindley


YouGov are worthless when it comnes to internal party issues, and have no track record worth speaking of.

You are absolutely right to be wary of the polling of such a limited electorate, indeed I myself take a large pinch of salt with this survey.

However what you must remember about this poll is that they largely polled the same members both times. I know I (as a YouGov Panel Member) did both polls and I know many others did too. Given that, it is a remarkable swing amongst that panel of Conservative members although it is difficult to say whether that is representative of the wider Party electorate - many especially older Party members probably aren't technologically up to being on the YouGov panel!

For the record I expressed my preference for Cameron both times.

James Maskell

Im suprized by that. I thought better of Gale than that. Maybe Im wrong about him. Thanks for the info James.


"an internal Tory ballot where YouGov called it right?"

2001 leadership election. YouGov's poll of party members had IDS on 61% and Clarke on 39%. The actual result was IDS 61% and Clarke 39%.


Iain & Richard:

YouGov accurately predicted the 2001 IDS vs Clarke contest.

I don't see your point about the polling they did of party members re the leadership process. They polled MEMBERS for a general sense of their opinion. They didn't poll the CHAIRMEN who formed the Constitutional Convention.

More generally - YouGov have a good record at predicting real Elections.

ALL polls only capture opinion at a given time and should be treated with a pinch of salt but YouGov's findings should generally be taken seriously.


I think YouGov, whilst only giving us a sample, are generally accurate in their projections.

The rupture in support for Davis has to be taken seriously by his campaign team. It will be very important for him to woo supporters with his Home Office portfolio this coming week.


It now looks like Davis is in real trouble. YouGov, as has been noted, called the previous leadership election to within 1%, and although it's still early days - at least as far as we members are concerned - the major problem facing him is that he potentially has to keep Cameron *and* Clarke off the final ballot...and even Fox will give him a close run. Davis really needs to secure a coup fast - what was the old maxim that the frontrunner never won the race?

Cllr Iain Lindley

YouGov are fairly reliable (as polling companies go) but any polls done of a very limited electorate on a self-selecting panel need to be taken with a teaspoon of salt.

For their national polls obviously results are weighted but it is very difficult to weight "Conservative Party members" and obviously they only have a limited number of them on their panels. Given the average age of a Party member it isn't difficult to believe that the YouGov panel is a little skewed towards the younger end...

That said even given those limitations the swing to Cameron (amongst the same group of people) was remarkable.

Nelson, Norfolk

Its got to be Cameron for leader with Liam Fox as his deputy. They would make a great team.

Liam think of the Party and not of your own personal needs. Back Cameron now.You will gain wide respect from the Party and the country.

How about a TV debate between the final two candidates. Mr Editor would you be prepared to start promoting the above idea.

"How about a TV debate between the final two candidates. Mr Editor would you be prepared to start promoting the above idea."

Nelson, there was a televised debate between Clarke and IDS last time. I think there's no reason to imagine there won't be a debate this time too.


Happily Nelson!

Nelson, Norfolk

The debate between Clarke and IDS was just a discussion. I would like to see a real TV debate similar to the ones they hold in the US.

James M

Interesting idea about a debate - I have been quite impressed by the way the conference went down and would consider a kind of weekend primary system for future leadership bids.

Yes things can go wrong, with backbiting - but equally, like last week they can go well. I have had a number of non-political people say to me that the Conservatives looks fresher, it shows a party that is democratic and adult and it tests the candidates.

Wat Tyler

Well, it ain't over til it's over, but clearly this doesn't look good for DD.

Personally, I hope we don't have any tactical shut-out voting of the kind discussed above. Last time MPs pee'd about so much, they ended up with a leader they couldn't live with. This time they need to ensure that they give us the two guys they could be loyal to- even if the members don't pick their first choice.

Myself, I reckon that rules out Ken- despite his popularity in the country, he's just too divisive inside our party, including among our MPs.

The obvious final is now between DD and DC. DD was the main choice of MPs before the frenzy- and I don't believe that was just because Derek Conway slammed them up against the wall (poor little lambs).

And at this stage DC seems to be the members' choice.

Of course, we do have the fundamental question as to whether our MPs could force themselves to be loyal to wet-behind-the-ears DC? I guess the answer is yes, so long as he adds 10% to our poll ratings and we start winning by-elections.

But what if that sparkle fades as our inexperienced David goes down under the mighty axe of Goliath Blair? Quite a few of those passed over "middle-age" MPs might then get very fractious indeed.

Tory Wars MkII anyone? No, sorry...MkIII.

Doesn't bear thinking about.

James Hellyer

And at this stage DC seems to be the members' choice.

The key words are "at this stage", Wat.

We have to remember these poll results are based on Cameron's speech and the media coverage of the conference.

Before then nobody really knew who Cameron was. Since then the media has focussed on pointing out Davis's failings and offering hagiographies of Cameron. So the swing isn't surprisng.

If Cameron can't show he's substantial enough or Conservative enough (and suspect he can't), the post-conference buzz won't be enough to carry through the next two months.


you have to keep the members movements in a seperate box to MPs movements.

The members are only interested in winning, and some of them in not having a euro enthusiast. Therefore Davis has dropped off simply because they have discovered Cameron - who looks like a winner - and they like him.

MPs take much more things into consideration. Such as their careers and loyalties.

Floating Voter

Davis is trouble because his speech was truly awaful - badly drafted and delivered. That was the biggest speech of his career and he screwed up big time. And that was in front of an audience who wanted him to succeed. He simply cannot be trusted to perform better against Blair and Brown. The activists recognise that and that is why his ratings have halved already.

The fact that so many MPs supported him demonstrates their pathetic lack of judgement and highlights that only the activists can be trusted to elect the leader. Let the activists vote on all the candidates and not the final two.


I wonder if a better system to be employed in the future (but not soon, please!) would be to put the candidates to the country who secure the backing of a certain percentage of MPs in a single ballot?

You could set that figure at, say, 20%-25%, (currently around 40-50 MPs) so that you'd know that the candidate did have relatively good support. However, this would probably mean that more candidates would make the final membership vote (probably 3 or 4, as opposed to 2).

Stephan of YouGov

No record? We got the the last leadership election precisely right - right down to the per cent. And our record in all UK-wide is better than any other pollster. AOur average error is 1%. And what we said about the membership views on the changes in the constitution looks right too. We said something like 2-to-1 support. The final result, somewhat later after opinion swung against the reforms, and amongst chairmen etc rather than the general membership which we measured, was only a slightly lesser margin. So I imagine your comments, Richard Hames, are inspired by something other than the facts.

Richard Hames

Anyone stupid enough to work for Archer as long, and as up tight and personal as you did Stefan & *still* not realise that he was a crook needs a thicker skin.


Richard, rather than resorting to personal abuse (and you'll be the first contributor I'll ban if you repeat it), you should perhaps apologise for your ill-founded case of earlier this evening... That would be the dignified thing to do.

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