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The poll showed Sunak’s support increased by two percent. (file)

London:

UK Conservative leadership hopeful Liz Truss has a 32-point lead over her rival in the race to become prime minister, according to a Sky News poll published on Thursday.

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A YouGov poll of Tory party members for the broadcaster found 66 per cent of foreign ministers were voting for Truss, while 34 per cent backed former finance minister Rishi Sunak.

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The breakdown includes only those who have voted or plan to.

As the Conservatives currently have a majority in the UK parliament, Truss or Sunak will become the country’s prime minister when current leader Boris Johnson leaves early next month.

Polls report that more than half (57 percent) have already cast their ballots ahead of ballots that close on September 2.

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More than a quarter of those who still intend to vote say they have not yet decided who to support.

The poll showed Sunak’s support rose by two percentage points from a similar poll two weeks ago, but the “increasing improvement… will not be enough to salvage the race for him,” Sky News said.

The two leadership contenders have waged a bitter battle in recent weeks, featuring frequent hostile briefings and counter-briefings by their camps.

Underlining the Tory grassroots rift with the parliamentary party, the poll found that Johnson would still win if he were in a leadership contest, with 46 per cent saying they would vote for him.

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He announced he would step down as leader of the ruling party earlier this summer following mass resignations among his cabinet members and MPs increasingly frustrated by his scandal-plagued leadership.

The YouGov survey was conducted among 1,089 of the nearly 200,000 Tory party members.

The winner will be announced on September 5 and the winner will take over the following day.

Candidates will hold the next dozen hustings during the summer-long contest in the northern English city of Manchester on Friday evening.

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(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)

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