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No clear alternative to Sunak as party leader among 2019 Tory voters, poll suggests

There is no clear alternative to lead the Conservative Party if Rishi Sunak were to be ousted, new polling has suggested. 

Questions about the prime minister's future have been raised by the calls for him to go from Sir Simon Clarke, and the defection of his pollster Will Dry to a group seeking his removal.

Researchers at Ipsos UK carried out a survey of 1,087 UK adults - although before Sir Simon and Mr Dry's actions were public.

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According to the polling, among 2019 Conservative voters, 42% have a favourable view of Mr Sunak, while 29% have an unfavourable view.

The two closest contenders to Mr Sunak, in the view of 2019 Tories, are both not eligible replacements - Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

Neither are currently MPs.

Both men have a 43% favourability rating among the cohort, while 29% have an unfavourable view of Mr Farage and 34% have an unfavourable view of Mr Johnson.

Other potential replacements include Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary James Cleverly.

Mr Hunt has 38% favourability among 2019 Conservatives and 31% unfavourability.

Mr Cleverly has 28% favourability and 26% unfavourability.

Read more:
Sir Simon Clarke calls for Sunak to step down
PM's former aide joins effort to oust him

According to pollsters, 53% of the whole population have an unfavourable view of Mr Sunak, and 24% have a favourable view.

This is almost unchanged from September last year.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer doesn't fair much better, with 41% viewing him unfavourably, and 28% viewing him favourably - again similar to the last polling in September.

See the state of the parties with the Sky News poll tracker

When it comes to the parties as a whole, the Labour Party has a 33% favourability score, and 39% unfavourability.

The Tories meanwhile have a 22% favourability score, with a 51% unfavourability.

The Greens have 26% favourability and a 31% unfavourability.

The Lib Dems have 20% favourability and a 36% unfavourability, while Reform has 18% favourability and a 39% unfavourability.

A fifth of 2019 Tories said they were likely to consider voting for Labour - 28% said they would consider choosing Reform.

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Keiran Pedley, director of politics at Ipsos, said: "With a majority of Britons unfavourable towards Rishi Sunak, six in 10 saying things are heading in the wrong direction and Labour maintaining a large poll lead over the Conservatives in voter preferences, leadership speculation is to be expected.

"However, it is unclear who would do a better job. No obvious alternative stands out among 2019 Conservative voters so far.

"Plus, given at least half of Britons have held unfavourable opinions towards the Conservative Party since early 2022, it's not a given that a new leader will improve the party brand any time soon."