Theresa May strolls into Downing Street with a fresh team and a honeymoon vibe, perhaps confronting big and tricky issues but sure of her position both as the unquestioned leader of the party and with a growing gap over the Labour opposition, embroiled in as great an implosion as any witnessed in modern British politics.
On core voting intentions, May’s Conservatives increase their orthodox polling lead from 8-points before her ascension last week to 10-points now, just shy of the politically symbolic 40% mark. They stand on 39% (+1), but Corbyn’s Labour sheds another point, now below the equally symbolic 30% mark, polling just 29% (-1). The figures for publication are shown in the first column of the table below:
But what impact do naming the Labour leadership contenders have on these numbers? The new Prime Minister may smirk as she reads that naming her and her current opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn, pushes the Tories up to stratospheric heights of 43%, while Labour dip further (29%). Should she be concerned by the Labour challengers, she may smile just a little more when she sees that Angela Eagle pushes the Labour share down to 26%, while Owen Smith does slightly better by securing his party a potential 27%, both short of the number that the much derided current leader polls.
That may change, of course, as the public come to know more of Eagle and Smith, both in terms of their policy positions and personal characteristics. The full table for comparison is as follows:
|Main vote intentions||May vs Corbyn||May vs Eagle||May vs Smith|
While May might think that such numbers make calling an early General Election an attractive proposition, the public, on balance, fail to see why she should. Half (50%) think she should carry on until the end of the fixed-term, while 39% believe it would be worth confirming her own mandate.
Brexit is, of course, a significance challenge for her government, but out of the starting gates the public are most likely to believe she will secure good terms for Britain’s exit (49%), rising to 77% confidence among prospective Tory voters. One in seven (14%) think she’ll deliver but on bad terms, while a similar number (13%) think that she won’t see Britain out of the EU while she inhabits Number 10. The public would like to hear an end to the carping about the referendum result, with 56% saying that they’re bored of the complaints and that the Remainers should get over it.
The public are realistic about the timeline for Brexit though, with half (52%) thinking we’ll still be in the EU in two years’ time, although most (69%) think the job will be done within five years (69%) and ten years (71%) respectively.
Access to the free market is more important to people (38%) than free movement of people (10%), but when it comes to the things that May should do, a cap on immigration gets most mentions although getting on with Brexit is thought to be the single most important thing on her to-do list.
The public would agree that Scotland should remain part of the UK, with only 32% seeing the need for a second Indyref.
May is seriously thought to have the backing of her party (70% compared to Corbyn’[s miserable 11%, while May looks to the future according to 56% (Corbyn 33%) and has the courage to say what’s right rather than what’s popular (55% v Corbyn 47%). She’s in a different league on being good in a crisis (40% vs 16). Only in understanding people like me (26%) does May begin to struggle, with slightly more (29%) saying it about Corbyn. Only 16% would like to share a pint with May down the pub, with 29% saying that Corbyn would be good company.
May & Hammond separate themselves completely (53%) from Corbyn/McDonnell (15%) on running the economy.