• Johnson and Stewart almost tied at the top, with 22% and 21% thinking they performed best respectively
  • Rory Stewart continues to perform best amongst Lib Dem and Labour voters

Both Rory Stewart and Boris Johnson have received a boost in the run up to the third round of voting, as Opinuim reveals they came out on top of Tuesday's debate.

Just over a fifth (22%) of those who watched at least some of the BBC debate think Boris Johnson performed the best, very closely followed by Rory Stewart (21%). Jeremy Hunt came third with 18%, followed by Sajid Javid (9%). As with the Channel 4 debate, Michael Gove was voted last with 8%.

Stewart continues to perform best amongst voters outside of the Conservatives 2017 vote

Amongst viewers who voted Conservative in 2017 Boris Johnson was the clear favourite in the debate, with a third (33%) thinking he performed best.

However, Rory Stewart still had large leads amongst voters from other parties, as he did after the Channel 4 debate. In particular, both 2017 Liberal Democrat and Labour voters backed his performance (37% and 34% respectively think he performed the best).

Jeremy Hunt now narrowly seen as best candidate for PM

When surveying viewers following Tuesday's debate, Jeremy Hunt had shifted slightly into the lead (with an average score of 4.9), followed by Rory Stewart (4.7) and Boris Johnson (4.7).

James Crouch, research manager at Opinium, commented:

"Last night's debate was the first time we saw Boris Johnson in action debating against the other contenders for the Conservative leadership, and the fact he wasn't a runaway success is interesting in itself.

"Despite Rory Stewart's self-deprecating assessment of how he performed, he still came a very close second behind the frontrunner. His sustained support from a wide variety of voters outside of the Conservative fold and former Conservatives who voted Remain means he continues to offer a striking alternative to Boris Johnson.

"The challenge for the Conservative Party is that their task before the next general election is twofold. First, to get Brexit done to the satisfaction of the large share of Leavers who backed the Conservatives in 2017. Second, to create a majority-winning coalition of voters that includes the large number who voted Remain and backed Cameron in 2015. The question is which leader, if any, can achieve both before 2022?"

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