Poll puts Boris Johnson in second place behind Jeremy Hunt

Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

The momentum behind Boris Johnson's bid to become prime minister was losing steam after the news broke that police visited his home on Friday.

A new shock poll by Survation for the Mail on Sunday found that Jeremy Hunt was now in the lead with the wider public.

Two online surveys taken by the newspaper - one before the news broke on Thursday and one afterwards on Saturday - found Johnson's lead of eight points over Jeremy Hunt had turned into a three point deficit.

When Survation carried out their poll on Thursday, it found 36% said Johnson would make the best PM, with 28% backing Hunt.

But a second survey on Saturday saw Johnson's ratings drop to 29%, while 32% supported Hunt.

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Among Tory voters, Johnson's lead when asked who would make the best prime minister had slumped from 27% to 11% in the same period.

Johnson led Hunt 55% to 28%, on Thursday, but this narrowed to 45%-34% by Saturday, according to the survey.

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When all voters were asked whether the incident had made them more likely or less likely to back Johnson as leader, more than a third, 35%, said less likely - and just 9% more likely.

More than half of all voters, 53%, said Johnson's private life was relevant to his ability to be prime minister, and three quarters said that a person's character was "relevant" to the contest.

Survation's chief executive, Damian Lyons Lowe, told the newspaper: "It is unusual to see a politician's private life having this level of salience among voters."

But in a seperate poll by ComRes for the Sunday Telegraph, Johnson had a 20 point lead over Hunt among grassroots Tory councillors.

In polling conducted before and after the story broke, 61% were backing Johnson compared to 39% for Hunt.

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Meanwhile in the Observer a Opinium survey of Westminster voting intentions puts Labour in the lead on 26% (up 4 points compared with last month), with the Brexit party on second place on 23% (down three) and the Tories in third place on 20% (up three). The Liberal Democrats are unchanged on 16%.

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