11:55am Friday: A YouGov poll of 730 Conservative members, conducted after the final two were known, gave Truss a massive 62-38 lead over Sunak. Including undecided and won’t vote, it was Truss 49%, Sunak 31%, undecided 15% and won’t vote 6%. 40% said Sunak can’t be trusted to tell the truth, only 18% thought the same of Truss.
The Italian government has collapsed, and elections will be held on September 25 about six months before they were due. Far-right parties are likely to win these elections.
7:33am Thursday: In the final round of MPs’ votes, Sunak won 137 votes (39% of the total), Truss 113 votes (32%) and Mordaunt was eliminated with 105 votes (30%). Changes from round four were Truss up 27, Sunak up 19 and Mordaunt up 13. So it’s Sunak vs Truss in the membership vote. This will be conducted by mail with the result announced September 5. Truss had a 54-35 lead over Sunak in a YouGov Conservative members poll.
8:12pm Results of the final round of MPs votes will be announced at 4pm UK time (1am AEST). I will report them here tomorrow morning.
12:16am Wednesday In the fourth round vote, Sunak had 118 votes (33% of the total), Mordaunt 92 (26%), Truss 86 (24%) and Badenoch was eliminated with 59 (17%). Changes were Truss up 15, Mordaunt up 10, Sunak up three and Badenoch up one.
Truss now trails Mordaunt by just six votes, with 59 votes to come from the right-wing Badenoch. Truss is very likely now to make the final two. A new YouGov poll has Truss thrashing Sunak 54-35 head to head among Tory members, and he also loses to Mordaunt 51-37.
The candidate who courted her party’s right is likely to be the next PM of the UK.
7:15pm Results of today’s vote will be announced at 3pm UK time (midnight AEST).
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.
At Monday’s third round vote by Conservative MPs, Rishi Sunak won 115 votes (32% of the total), followed by Penny Mordaunt with 82 votes (23%), Liz Truss 71 votes (20%), Kemi Badenoch 58 votes (16%) and Tom Tugendhat 31 votes (9%). As the last placed candidate, Tugendhat was eliminated. The changes in votes since Thursday’s second round were Sunak up 14, Badenoch up nine, Truss up seven, Mordaunt and Tugendhat both down one.
Conservative MPs will eliminate another candidate tonight (likely Badenoch), then the final elimination vote will occur Wednesday. The final two go to the Conservative membership, which votes by mail. The result will be announced September 5. Brief profiles of the remaining candidates appear below.
Sunak was the former chancellor. Boris Johnson was forced to resign soon after Sunak quit. As I said in my previous article, Sunak is the only candidate advocating fiscal rectitude, while other candidates want tax cuts NOW!
Mordaunt is a junior minister. Her appeal is to those who want a complete break from Johnson by replacing him with someone virtually unknown, and her attractiveness probably helped.
Truss is the foreign secretary. During this leadership campaign, she has heavily courted her party’s most right-wing MPs. As well as personal tax cuts, she has promised to reverse a scheduled rise in the corporations tax from 18% to 25% and to cut green levies.
Badenoch was a junior minister. She has campaigned against the “woke” agenda, and is the only remaining contender who has not signed up to the UK’s net zero by 2050 goal.
Sunak is only five short of the 120 votes (just over one-third of MPs) needed to guarantee a membership vote spot, but Mordaunt is likely to lose after Badenoch is eliminated. She could be saved if voters of the centrist Tugendhat break strongly to her over Sunak, or if some Sunak voters tactically vote for Mordaunt over Truss in the final round; he’s likely to be able to spare some votes.
A YouGov poll of Conservative members last week had Mordaunt crushing everyone else head to head, but this already looks out of date. A Conservative Home survey out Sunday (not sure if this is a real poll) had large falls for Mordaunt since the previous week, and she now loses to Badenoch, Truss and Sunak, with Truss leading Sunak 49-42.
Mordaunt has been damaged by claims she is too woke, and her performances at debates Friday and Sunday haven’t helped. The woke accusations are likely to particularly hurt with Badenoch voters.
Last week I said national polls taken since Johnson was ousted showed a swing to Labour, giving Labour a double digit lead over the Conservatives. There has been little change in the polls since then. Although Johnson was ousted by Conservative MPs, the government won a parliamentary confidence vote Monday by 349 to 238, with all Conservatives voting for confidence.
Australian election coverage at The Conversation
I wrote about the final 2022 election results; all seat changes occurred in the cities, and inner metro regions had the largest difference in Labor’s favour from national results since at least 1993. I covered the final Senate results and critically compared the pre-election polls to the election results – that article was published before an exact national two party vote was known.