The Evening Standard have splashed today on a new poll showing that Boris Johnson would hand the Tories a significant bounce if he took over as leader.
This is all good fun, but it doesn't really tell us a great deal new. Here's why:
- The results are almost identical to a previous Boris vs Dave Yougov poll in October which showed Boris giving the Tories a seven point bounce. This poll shows him giving them a six point bounce.
- Neither poll puts the Tories ahead in either vote share or seats. With Boris as Tory leader, Labour would still be the largest party and would be just a few seats short of an overall majority (on a uniform swing).
- It would not be a uniform swing. Almost all of the bounce in today's poll comes from lost Conservative and Lib Dem voters and current UKIP voters. Labour's overall vote does not change at all with Boris as Tory leader.
- Most of the bounce is in London, and to a lesser extent the South East and the North. Boris would not do much better than Cameron in the Midlands, Wales or Scotland. Note of caution: the margin of error on subsamples like this is quite large.
- The Boris bounce is also mostly among younger voters. Voters over 39 (the group most likely to vote) are far less impressed.
- Hypothetical polls like this are inherently unreliable. We don't know what a Boris-led Tory party would look like, when it might happen, who the other party leaders might be by that time, or how Boris would perform.
- Without that information, this poll only really shows us that Boris is more popular than David Cameron. We knew that anyway.
Thanks to @darryl1974 for the photo.