Penny Mordaunt on course to be next PM if she reaches final round of Tory leadership race, poll finds

·2-min read

Penny Mordaunt is on course to become prime minister if she reaches the final two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson, a new YouGov poll reveals.

The survey of 879 Conservative Party members conducted last night and today suggests the former defence secretary, who launched her campaign this morning, wins by a huge margin against all other contenders.

The poll is bad news for Mr Sunak, the frontrunner among MPs, as he loses to all candidates apart from Nadhim Zahawi.

Ms Mordaunt beats the former chancellor, who has the most declared MP backers at 50.

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Asked to select their favourite replacement, Ms Mordaunt comes first among Tory members with 27% of votes. Kemi Badenoch comes second with 15% while Mr Sunak and Ms Truss are tied on third place with 13%.

Tom Tugendhat has 8%, Suella Braverman has 5%, Jeremy Hunt 4% and Mr Zahawi 1%. Some 6% say "none of the above" are their preferred candidate while 8% say they don't know.

The order of preference among members is very different to the public choice of those 358 Tory MPs who have so far declared, who put Mr Sunak first, Ms Mordaunt some distance behind on second, Ms Truss on third, Ms Badenoch on fourth and Mr Tugendhat on fifth.

The members were also asked who they would vote for if given a choice between just two names, with Ms Mordaunt winning against every competitor.

Ms Mordaunt beats Mr Sunak by 67% to 28%, beats Ms Truss by 55% to 37% and Ms Badenoch - who comes second among members - by 59% to 30%.

In the event that Ms Mordaunt does not make the final round, Ms Truss would beat Mr Sunak by 67% to 28%.

Only candidates who made it on the ballot paper with the support of 20 or more MPs yesterday were put before the members.

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