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More Brits prefer May as PM than Johnson
September 11, 2018
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LONDON: More people think Theresa May would make a better prime minister than Boris Johnson, according to an exclusive new poll.

The survey for The Independent by BMG Research shows the public see May as more hardworking than her rival, who at the weekend renewed his backbench critique of her Brexit strategy by claiming it had put Britain in a “suicide vest”.

Asked directly about how good a PM they think Johnson would make, almost half of those questioned said either ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’, according to the poll.  It follows a weekend of bitter recriminations after Mr Johnson’s personal life was splashed across the weekend papers, amid claims of a smear campaign ahead of a potential leadership challenge.

Downing Street has denied any involvement, but the clash between May and Johnson is setting the scene for the broader Brexit row, with eurosceptic MPs supportive of Johnson threatening to vote down May’s ‘Chequers’ Brexit proposals.

Pollsters asked a weighted sample of more than 1,500 people who would make a better PM, “Boris Johnson or Theresa May” – with just 24 per cent of people backing the ex-foreign secretary.

But some 32 per cent believed May the better person to be prime minister, with 31 per cent saying neither, and 13 per cent saying they did not know.  Asked directly how good a PM Johnson would make, just 25 per cent were positive to some degree – eight per cent ‘very good’, 17 per cent simply ‘good’.

But 48 per cent signalled they thought he would make a bad leader for the country, with 31 per cent – almost a third – opting for ‘very bad’, underlining the strong opinions the Uxrbridge MP provokes. 

The survey then tested a series of public figures, including the Tory pair and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, against a series of leadership qualities.

Asked about work ethic in the poll, May was the only one of the three politicians of whom a majority – 55 per cent – believed to be “hardworking”, while 34 per cent said she is not.

Corbyn’s figures were more equivocal with 42 per cent saying he is hardworking, and 44 per cent not, but Johnson’s figures in the survey indicated a clearer view.

Only 36 per cent of people thought the ex-cabinet minister to be a hard worker, while half of people – exactly 50 per cent – said he was not. But in a blow for May’s hopes of selling her under-fire Brexit plans to the country, 61 per cent of people said in the poll that she has a poor sense of the British public’s mood, while only 26 per cent said her sense of it is good.

The Independent
 

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