12:15am Friday: Sunak wins round 2 with 101 votes (28% of total), Mordaunt second with 83 (23%), Truss 64 (18%), Badenoch 49 (14%), Tugendhat 32 (9%) and Braverman 27 (8%). Braverman is eliminated. A YouGov poll of Conservative members has Mordaunt thumping both Sunak and Truss head to head, with Truss thumping Sunak. On this round, Braverman and Tugendhat lost votes from round 1 even though candidates dropped out. The next round is Monday.
8:15pm Guardian live blog says today’s vote will be announced at 3pm UK time (midnight AEST). So two hours earlier than yesterday.
6:17am Thursday: Round 1 result: Sunak 88 votes, 25% of total, Mordaunt 67, 19%, Truss 50, 14%, Badenoch 40, 11%, Tugendhat 37, 10%, Braverman 32, 9%, Zahawi 25, 7% and Hunt 18, 5%. Hunt and Zahawi are eliminated for failing to get the 30 votes required to advance.
One of the six remaining candidates will be eliminated each round until there are two left, who will go to the membership. While Sunak won this round, he is not safe as his support is well below the 33.3% required to assure advancement to the membership vote. I think the question is whether Truss can overtake Mordaunt once other right-wingers are eliminated. There will be a second round today.
Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
To elect a new leader, Conservative MPs vote in rounds with the lowest polling candidate eliminated each round, until there are just two left. Those final two go to the Conservative membership, which votes by mail. Candidates required at least 20 MP supporters to nominate. Eight candidates have cleared this threshold.
Results for today’s first round are expected at 2am AEST. The lowest polling candidate and any others who fail to reach 30 votes are eliminated. There are 358 Conservative MPs in the House of Commons. A second round of voting is likely Thursday, then a third round next Monday. The final two will be known by July 21, and the winner of the membership vote will be announced on September 5.
To be certain to make the final round, a candidate needs one-third of the MPs’ vote. The membership is more right-wing than MPs, so if a right-wing candidate makes the final two, that candidate could win.
At the moment, this appears to be a contest between former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and everyone else. Sunak is sticking to fiscal rectitude in not offering a tax cut until inflation of 9.1% is under control, while other candidates want a tax cut NOW! Sunak is likely to make one of the final two spots, and I don’t know who will win the other spot.
There was good news for Labour leader Keir Starmer, as he and his deputy, Angela Rayner, were recently cleared by Durham police over allegations they breached lockdown rules while campaigning last year. Starmer had pledged to resign if fined.
Boris Johnson resigned as Conservative leader on July 7, but remains caretaker PM until a new leader is elected. If he was holding back the Conservative vote, I would have expected a polling rebound for the Conservatives once he was ousted, but the opposite has happened, with Labour getting double digit leads in most polls taken since Johnson’s ousting. Perhaps Johnson was holding up the Conservatives with non-university educated whites outside the big cities.
US Supreme Court decisions
I wrote for The Conversation on July 5 about the recent history of appointments to the US Supreme Court that has created the current 6-3 right split. While the Supreme Court is historically unpopular, so is President Joe Biden, and so the Democrats are still likely to be thumped at the early November US midterm elections.
Furthermore, having two senators per state makes the US Senate heavily malapportioned, with a large bias towards rural and small town voters, which have been trending towards Republicans at recent elections. This bias could give Republicans a lock on the Senate.
Japanese upper house elections
Elections for half of the Japanese upper house were held on Sunday. The ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won 63 of the 125 seats up for election (up six) and its Komeito allies 13 (down one). The LDP holds 119 of the 248 total seats and Komeito 27 for a comfortable overall majority. Japan has separate upper and lower house elections. These elections were marred by the assassination of former LDP PM Shinzo Abe on Friday.