The Brexit Party surge is fading, according to an exclusive BMG Research opinion poll for The Independent.
The poll puts the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck on 28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, if a general election were held today, with the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party on 14 per cent.
The Conservatives are up two points since last month, with Labour unchanged and the Lib Dems up one – but the Brexit Party has lost four points, suggesting that the effect of coming top in the European elections in May is wearing off.
The Lib Dems, on the other hand, who also received a boost in the European elections, are holding on to their share of the vote. The Green Party, which, like the Lib Dems, benefited from a clear pro-Remain stance in the elections to the European parliament, are unchanged on 6 per cent.
The poll suggests that some supporters of Mr Farage’s new party could have returned to the Conservatives because of the prospect of Boris Johnson becoming leader, promising to take Britain out of the EU, “deal or no deal”, on 31 October.
The survey, which was carried out last week, will also be seized on by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn as evidence that Labour support is holding up despite internal criticism of the leader’s compromise policy on Brexit.
On the issue of Brexit itself, BMG repeated the question asked in the 2016 referendum – “Should the UK remain a member of the EU, or leave the EU?” – and found a six-point lead for Remain. Remain was on 53 per cent, Leave on 47 per cent, after a “squeeze” question (“Which side would you say are you leaning towards most?”) and excluding "don’t knows" and refused.
The survey also found that Jeremy Hunt was preferred as new Tory leader and prime minister by 28 per cent of the general public, compared with 22 per cent for Mr Johnson, although 37 per cent would opt for “neither of them”, while 13 per cent did not know.
In addition, they are less likely to think that he is “capable of managing Brexit”; that he is a “strong leader”; or that he is “trustworthy”.
Only when people are asked if he “understands the problems of people like me” does Mr Corbyn do slightly better than his Conservative rivals – and only 24 per cent agree, while 52 per cent disagree.
BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,532 GB adults online between 2 and 5 July. Data are weighted. Changes are since 4-7 June. BMG is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.