A lot of people have been asking me this question lately, mainly because of my old ties with the party and also because I have a keen interest in politics. My answer is generally “I don’t know, and if I did then I’d be down at the bookies placing a large sum of money on said candidate”, but even now I feel unable to even guess as to how the contest will end.
The vast majority of media sources seem to be predicting a win for David Cameron, with up to a 2:1 ratio in votes. Watching the Daily Politics on BBC 2 today showed this to great effect - almost every question was along the lines of “so what do you expect Cameron to do when he takes over the leadership?”, and only occasionally was reference made to the fact that the result has not yet been announced.
Going off what the pundits and the media say, perhaps it would be most sensible for me to place my hypothetical money - I generally don’t gamble with cold, hard cash - on Cameron breaking through the finish line with Davis still only half way around the track. However, the Conservative party has a habit of not picking the front runner - a recent example of this can be seen in the result of the last leadership election (discounting when Michael Howard was made leader, as he was uncontested and therefore won by default) when a lot of people were backing Michael Portillo, only to have Iain Duncan Smith, who most people had never heard of, granted the leadership by a ratio of three votes to two against Kenneth Clarke.
Overall, I think that the vote is going to be a lot closer than people have been predicting, and it won’t necessarily be all sweetness and roses for young Cameron. I still believe he is more likely than Davis to take the crown of thorns that is the leadership of the Conservative party, but today’s result has the potential to surprise everyone so I’m not coming down from the fence just yet.