Three out of five voters (59%) want Theresa May to step down immediately – but the vast majority of Tory backers want her in post for Brexit, a poll for HuffPost UK shows.
The Prime Minister is readying herself for the Conservative Party conference in Manchester as speculation mounts over how long she has left in the top job, and support for her premiership is thin on the ground.
The poll of almost 2,000 voters, conducted by BMG, has laid bare how strongly people are against her remaining as the country’s’ leader for the whole of this Parliament.
A staggering 59% thought she should step down now while a higher number still – 64% - thought she should not lead the Tories into the next election.
Almost half of the public said that May should step down before the 2022 General Election (47%), and this rose to two thirds excluding don’t knows (64%)
Just 12% of Conservative voters think May should step down now, however, while 59% of that same group say she should stay on until after Brexit or until the transition period was over.
Three quarters (76%) of Conservative voters agree that May has shown strength by continuing, while just 5% disagreed.
It comes as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is rumoured to be eyeing a run against May, continues to pile pressure on the PM over Brexit.
Asked separately if they wanted May to lead the party into the next election, a surprising 67% say they do.
Just 8% of Labour voters agree with the statement that having Theresa May as leader makes them more likely to vote for the Conservatives, four in five (78%) disagree
A tiny 8% of undecided voters say May as leader makes them more likely to vote Tory, and 32% disagree.
Brexit vs Remain
The poll also showed how Brexit continues to split the country.
One in five said they would consider relocating to an EU member state if May pressed ahead with a hard Brexit. This rose to one third (34%) among 18-34s.
Support for both Brexit and Remain is entrenched as ever, the poll showed.
Brexit voters were asked if EU negotiators humiliating the UK would lead them to switch their vote to remain, 83% said it would not; if prices increased, more than half – 56% - said they would still vote leave; if the UK agreed a fresh deal with Donald Trump’s US, 83% said it would not change their vote; and even if immigration figures remain largely unchanged, 58% would still back Brexit; a recession would also change nothing, with 49% still backing Brexit, and 40% would still back it, albeit with reservations.
If there was strong economic evidence that the younger generation would suffer from Brexit, 50% would not consider voting remain in a second referendum, and a further 37% would still back Brexit, but with reservations.
This topline figure was highest among Labour Brexit voters – 55%.
Support for remain was slightly softer. If EU negotiators humiliated the UK, 56% would continue to back Remain, for example, while if the economy started to grow slightly, just 20% would consider changing their view and 54% would still back remain.
If the Government is forced to fork out a large Brexit bill, 58% of Remainers would stick to their guns, and 31% would still back Remain albeit with reservations.
Remainers were most likely to switch their view if there was strong economic evidence that the next generation would be better off - less than half, 46% would still fully back Remain and 24% would switch to voting leave.