A new poll shows that Mayor of London Boris Johnson is the overwhelming choice to be the next party leader for Conservative party members.
The Times/YouGov poll, which is the first proper poll to ask Conservative members about their next leader, showed a massive 43% of Tories think Johnson should take over from David Cameron.
Trailing Johnson with 22% is Chancellor George Osborne, followed by the Home Secretary Theresa May on 19% and Business Secretary Sajid Javid on 7%.
The reason for Johnson’s lead can be answered by another question YouGov asked in the same poll — do Tory members want to leave the EU? 59% said they were planning to vote for a Brexit in the June 23 referendum, while only 31% will be voting to remain.
This puts Cameron, Osborne, May and Javid at odds with their party membership.
And we don’t even have to speculate that Johnson’s backing for a Brexit is driving up his popularity among members.
YouGov asked the Conservative members who they wanted to be leader both before and after Johnson made his decision over which side of the referendum to back. Johnson picked up 5% after he made his decision.
The rise in Johnson’s popularity is the first warning sign that there is going to be big falling out in the Conservative party over the referendum. Almost two-thirds of party members want Britain to leave the EU, yet Cameron is doing everything in his power to make the UK stay in it.
No matter which way the EU referendum goes, the Tory leadership election will be the first opportunity for many Tories to let their leaders know how they really feel about the EU.
The chairman of a large Conservative association told Business Insider that their members are furious at the way the Conservative leadership has backed staying in the EU without consulting their grassroots membership.
“I don’t think they want to listen to their members and are actively trying to become less accountable to local associations… lots of people are angry”
As Business Insider has pointed out before, if the UK votes to stay in the EU, those members will be furious and will be in no mood to elect anyone who backed the Remain campaign.
And if the UK votes to leave, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Party membership is going to be in a forgiving mood. Are the people who say they want to leave the EU really going to vote for Osborne, a man who admits he has no contingency plans in place for a Brexit, to lead their party?
In the same poll, Conservative Party members say they think the most important issue facing Britain today is asylum and immigration followed by the issue of Europe. The fallout from the EU referendum won’t end on June 23.
NOW WATCH: ‘You’re the basket case’ — here is the moment things spiraled out of control at the GOP debate
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.