Michela Morizzo on this weeks polls amid Tory leadership battle
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An exclusive poll for Express.co.uk has revealed voters want a rising star who wants to cut taxes and will take a hard Brexiteer line with the EU. The characteristics fit Ms Badenoch’s campaign with all to play for this evening and over the weekend with the televised debates on Channel 4, ITV and Sky.
Ms Badenoch entered the contest at the beginning of last week as the rank outsider – a minister in the communities department who although talented was thought to stand no chance against her more experienced rivals.
But at the end of this week after the second round she had the backing of 49 Tory MPs and had seen off former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, the current Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Brexiteer favourite, the Attorney General Suella Braverman who had all been eliminated.
Currently the top three candidates are Rishi Sunak, whose resignation as Chancellor sparked the end of Boris Johnson’s Premiership, on 101, trade minister and bookies’ favourite Penny Mordaunt on 83 and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on 64.
While the Techne poll revealed that on name recognition, Mr Sunak comes top wirth the public ion 22 percent, followed by Ms Mordaunt on 19 percent, Ms Truss on 15 percent and Ms Badenoch a long way back on 8 percent it is a different tale when asked about characteristics.
The public favour a rising star by 43 percent to 42 percent for a ministerial veteran like Msd Truss, who has held five cabinet positions.
They want a hard Brexiteer by 45 percent compared to 43 percent for an EU compromiser.
And they want a tax cutter by 61 percent to 31 percent for the prudence espoused by Mr Sunak.
Red Wall Tory MP Lee Anderson, who has backed Ms Badenoch from the start, said: “It is quite clear from my conversations with local members and first time Tory voters that they do not want more of the same.
“They want a committed Brexiteer who believes in a small state and low tax society allowing people to decide how they spend their hard-earned cash rather than the Treasury taking it from them.
“Most people are just not bothered about Ministerial experience; we have had all that before and very little has changed. Kemi will deliver the change needed.”
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, deputy chairman of the powerful Common Sense Group, added: “This is the message we are picking up around the country as well.
“Of course, ministerial experience is important but it is not the only thing.
“Values are also important as is the ability to inspire.”
He noted that the TV debates could be crucial in deciding where MPs put their final votes.
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He said: “The aim was always to get Kemi to the TV debates. In the hustings she has outshone the others and we are sure that will happen in the televised debates as well.
“Colleagues then need to think about who the best person is to represent and lead the Conservative Party.”
Ms Badenoch, who is being backed by Michael Gove, has come under pressure to quit the race with former Brexit minister Lord Frost urging her to get behind Ms Truss.
There has also been a row in the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tory MPs over whether they should back Ms Truss.
But sources close to Ms Badenoch have insisted she still hopes to win and will not be quitting.
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