Foreign secretary has secured the endorsement of former chancellor Sajid Javid
A new survey by the influential website ConservativeHome put the foreign secretary 32 points ahead of Rishi Sunak in the battle for Downing Street.
Avgjørende, it was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Ms Truss was being forced to ditch plans to cut public sector pay outside London in the face of a revolt by Tory MPs.
The result is similar to a YouGov poll of party members, which found a 34-point gap in favour of Ms Truss.
She also secured the support of former chancellor Sajid Javid, who warned that his friend Mr Sunak’s economic plans would lead Britain “sleepwalking into a high-tax, low-growth” economy.
The two men quit within an hour of each other last month, triggering a string of resignations that finally forced Boris Johnson to concede his time as prime minister was over.
But writing in Tidene, Mr Javid criticised his friend’s stance as he backed his rival.
Mr Sunak has argued that tax cuts can come after inflation has been brought under control.
But Mr Javid, himself a former Tory leadership candidate, insisted that “tax cuts now are essential”.
Han sa: “Over the long term we are more likely to be fiscally sustainable by improving trend growth.
“Only by getting growth back to pre-financial crisis levels can we hope to support the high-quality public services people rightly expect. Some claim that tax cuts can only come once we have growth.
“I believe the exact opposite – tax cuts are a prerequisite for growth. Of course we need more than that, especially significant supply side reform, but tax cuts now are essential. There are no risk-free options in government. derimot, in my view, not cutting taxes carries an even greater risk.”
Supporters of Mr Sunak hit out at Mr Javid.
A backbench source said: “Saj is a nice guy but he’s also the guy who, despite all his tough talk on taking office as health secretary, was prepared to lead us into lockdown last Christmas because he was scared witless by a graph. So it’s no surprise he’s backing the Boris Johnson continuity candidate.”
Mr Sunak’s supporters insist there is still all to play for and that a surprise delay in votes being cast could help their candidate make up lost ground.
Rundt 160,000 Tory members who will decide the next occupant of No 10 had been expected to start voting earlier this week. But in an unexpected development ballot papers have been delayed because of cyber security concerns.
Tory MP David Davis, who is backing Rishi Sunak in the leadership contest, said “a degree of delay is helpful to us” suggesting that Ms Truss’s policies would face more “exposure”.
Mr Sunak’s backers pointed to a Savanta ComRes poll of Tory councillors, which put the two almost neck and neck with many left undecided, saying it was among those who had yet to make up their mind where the contest was “all to play for”.
Supporters also insist that Mr Sunak has a better “ground game” and has been meeting hundreds more Tory activists up and down the country than his opponent.
But the YouGov survey also found that less than a fifth of Tory members believe Mr Sunak will win the next general election outright if he succeeds Boris Johnson in No 10.