LONDON — Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg is now the second most popular choice to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader among party members, according to a new poll.
The ConservativeHome survey published on Wednesday shows that there is no great appetite for any current Conservative MP to replace May. The most popular choice was "other" which received 34.29% of votes cast by 1,216 party members and activists.
However, what the poll does reveal is a dramatic increase in support for Rees-Mogg, who has leap-frogged Foreign Secretary and former leadership hopeful Boris Johnson into second place. Only David Davis was more popular.
The MP for North East Somerset was not listed as an option but was the first choice of 142 respondents who voted for "other." This follows the recent rise of "Moggmania" — an online movement of mainly young Conservative Party members who want to see the eccentric Etonian launch a leadership bid when the opportunity arises.
Johnson received just 9.46% of the vote having received 19% in ConservativeHome's previous survey. Brexit Secretary Davis still leads the race among members but is down from 24% to 20%.
The results show that party members do not support any Cabinet minister to replace May, suggesting the next leader may well come from below the party's top ranks.
Here is a breakdown of the ConservativeHome survey:
ConservativeHomeAnother non-Cabinet member who performed well in the survey was MP for Esher and Walton, Dominic Raab. The staunch Brexiteer received 7.65% of the vote and is tipped as a dark horse to replace May in a future leadership contest.
Chancellor Philip Hammond received 5.43% of the vote while Andrea Leadsom, who with May made it to the final two in last year's contest, was the preferred choice of 1.07% of members. Friends of Leadsom told BI earlier this summer that dozens of Tory MPs had urged the MP for South Northamptonshire to run for leader again.