Today’s Times has a new YouGov poll of Labour party members and registered supporters (so members, registered trade unionists and £3 supporters – the same group who were able to vote in the Labour leadership election). Full tabs are here.

65% thought Jeremy Corbyn was doing well as leader, 34% badly as leader. Less promisingly, only 46% think it’s likely Labour will win the next election under Corbyn and only 38% think it’s likely he will ever be PM. Labour party members think Corbyn is doing well and expect him to lose. This apparent contradiction is easily resolved: 56% of Labour members think parties should say what they believe, even if it’s unpopular and loses elections, in comparison 32% think they should compromise in order to put foward policies that allow it to win an election and put policies into action.

Looking forward there is little appetite amongst Labour members for a change of leader: 57% think Corbyn should remain leader and fight the next election, 20% think he should hand over the leadership to someone else at some later point during the Parliament, 18% think he should go now.

There’s a sharp division between those who voted Corbyn and the minority who didn’t – 86% who voted Corbyn think he’s doing well, 66% who didn’t vote Corbyn think he’s doing badly. 82% of people who voted Corbyn think he should stay till the election, 43% who voted differently think he should stand down now. The vast majority of people who voted for Corbyn think he is doing well and think he should stay on, at least for now; there is no sign at all of buyer’s remorse amongst Corbyn’s voters. Equally, Labour party members who opposed Corbyn in the leadership election continue to oppose him, there is little sign of them rallying round their new leader. The Labour party remains divided.

It’s quite hard to judge whether these figures are good or bad. Surveys of party members are quite rare, most of the time they only happen in the middle of a leadership election when there is no incumbent leader whose ratings we can compare. There were no polls, for example, of Labour party members when Ed Miliband had been in the job for a few months that we can compare to see if David Miliband supporters had rallied round the leader or all still wanted Ed to resign.

79% think the shadow cabinet is divided, but Corbyn’s opponents are much more widely blamed for this than Corbyn himself – 54% think the fault is mostly his opponents’, 19% Corbyn and his allies, 25% both equally. On balance, there is support amongst the Labour selectorate for mandatory re-selection of MPs – 39% think MPs should be automatically reselected unless they’ve failed badly or are very unpopular, 52% think all MPs should face a full reselection anyway.

Finally YouGov asked about two specific policy issues facing Labour. On Europe the party membership is clear: 80% would vote for Britain to stay in the EU and 62% think Jeremy Corbyn should actively campaign in favour of EU membership. On Syria Labour party members divide two-to-one against airstrikes and three-to-one against the use of British ground forces in Iraq or Syria. 48% of Labour members think Corbyn should oppose the RAF taking part in airstrikes against ISIS, only 25% think he should support them.

ComRes have their monthly online poll for the Independent on Sunday & Sunday Mirror out tonight. Topline figures are CON 42%(nc), LAB 27%(-2), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 15(+2), GRN 3%(nc). You have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a lower Labour score than 27%.

It is important to note that ComRes’s post-election polls are significantly worse for the Labour party than polls from other companies: since the general election ComRes have shown Labour with an average of 29% and a Conservative lead of 11 points; other companies have on average had Labour on 32% and an average Conservative lead of 6 points. Suffice to say, while this is a bad poll for Labour even by ComRes’s standards, it’s not some great slump in Labour support. The reason the Tory lead is bigger than in recent polls giving them a lead of only six or seven points is down to ComRes having a different methodology, not a sudden fracturing of support.

If you are interested in the specifics of this, the reason for the gap is probably ComRes’s new turnout model. Rather than weighting people based on how likely they claim they are to vote, ComRes estimate people’s likelihood to vote based on demographic factors like age and class. In practice, it means weighting down young people and working class people who are more likely to support Labour.

At the moment polling companies’ methods are in a state of flux. Some companies like ComRes have made substantial changes to address the errors of the general election; other companies have made only modest interim changes while they await the results of the polling review. Even those who have made changes say they may well make further changes once the review reports. It means we have some quite varied results from different companies at the moment. Once the review is done and dusted and everyone has made all the changes they are going to make it may be that results are once again quite similar to each other… or it may be that we won’t be able to tell who has taken the correct approach until we see the results of the 2020 general election.

Anyway, looking at the rest of the ComRes poll they repeated their favourability questions about party leaders, finding a drop in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings since September. 22% now have a favourable perception of Corbyn (down 2), 50% have an unfavourable perception (up 8). In comparison 38% of people have a favourable impression of David Cameron (up 3), 42% have an unfavourable perception of Cameron (no change).

Of course if Jeremy Corbyn does make it to general election he won’t be facing David Cameron. So while there may be a large gap between perceptions of Cameron and Corbyn, the gap between perceptions of Corbyn and Osborne is significantly smaller. Only 25% of people have a favourable perception of Osborne, 44% an unfavourable perception. Osborne’s perceived rival for the leadership, Boris Johnson, has much better ratings – 44% have a favourable perception, 27% an unfavourable perception. Boris Johnson though seems to be judged on a whole different basis to other politicians, but perhaps that’s a topic for another day.


Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor for the Standard is out today – topline figures with changes from last month are CON 41%(+5), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 7%(-3), UKIP 7%(-5), GRN 4%(+1). The big drop in UKIP support is probably nothing, last month’s poll had them jumping up five points, this month has them dropping the same amount, both the up and the down are likely normal sample variation.

The rest of the poll included some interesting questions on spending and the deficit ahead of next week’s autumn statement. During the last Parliament the government’s cuts were often unpopular, but the public consistently regarded them as being necessary. MORI’s poll suggests potential trouble for the government there – two-thirds of people still think the cuts in the last Parliament were necessary, but support for further cuts is far lower. 34% think that it is still necessary to make more cuts, 32% think cuts in the last Parliament were necessary, but it’s not necessary any more, 27% think cuts were never necessary in the first place.

Asked where any cuts should and shouldn’t fall international aid, as usual, comes top on the things people would like to see cut (59%), followed by benefit payments (36%), then defence (19%). On things they’d like to see protected from cuts the NHS, as usual, comes top (73%), followed by schools (39%) and care for the elderly (28%). Full tabs for the MORI poll are here.

ComRes also have new polling for the Daily Mail today (full tabs here). Support for British airstrikes against ISIS in Syria was similar to YouGov’s poll yesterday (60% support, 24% opposition), support for intervention on the ground was higher than YouGov’s poll – in a generic question people supported British troops getting involved in a ground war against ISIS by 50% to 31%, when asked if they’d support British grounds getting involved alongside the US or France support rose to 59%.

YouGov have some polling for the Times on attitudes to terrorism and Syria following the attack on Paris. The full results are here, and the Times’s write up is here.

There are two important findings in there. One is attitudes towards Syrian refugees. Back in September YouGov found 36% thought we should accept more Syrian refugees, 24% keep the numbers about the same, 27% that we should admit fewer or none. That support has dropped sharply, now only 20% think Britain should accept more (down 16), 24% the same number (no change), 49% fewer or none (up 22).

It would be wrong to assume this is necessarily connected to the attack upon Paris. The previous poll was conducted at the start of September, a week after the photos of the body of Aylan Kurdi washed up on the beach and amid sympathetic media coverage of refugees trudging across Hungary seeking a route to Germany. At the time there was evidence that the public had become more favourable towards the idea of accepting more Syrian refugees. However time has passed, the media coverage of sinking boats and desperate refugees has faded away again, and I expect a significant chunk of the change in public opinion is because of that – some heartbreaking photos and coverage did provoke a temporary change in opinion, but it was only temporary.

The other interesting finding is on sending British and US troops back into Iraq to fight Islamic State/ISIS. 43% of people now support sending in ground troops, 37% of people are opposed. The change since the last time YouGov asked is barely significant, but it’s part of a longer and much more clearer trend. Back in August 2014 when YouGov started asking this question the British public were strongly opposed to sending troops back into Iraq, but since then opinion has steadily moved in favour of intervention. We are now at the point where there are significantly more people in favour than opposed.


On other matters, the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian came out yesterday, with topline voting intention figures of CON 39%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 3% (tabs here. Their weekly EU referendum poll has figures of REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 38%. Survation have also put out some new figures, voting intentions are CON 37%, LAB 30%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 16%, GRN 3% and EU referendum intentions are REMAIN 42%, LEAVE 40% (tabs here.

A quick note on two EU referendum polls from the end of last week. One was by Survation, conducted for the Leave.EU campaign – tables are here. Topline figures there were Remain 47%, Leave 53%. This is interesting mostly because it shows a lead for Leave when the overwhelming majority of polling shows Remain with a narrow lead (the last poll to put leave ahead was YouGov in September). All the polls so far using the referendum question are here.

The other data was from the British Election Study face-to-face survey. This is not new data by any means, the fieldwork was conducted between May and September (mostly in May, June and July). It found referendum voting intentions of Remain 61%, Leave 39%. On the face of it this looks interesting – as discussed last week the face-to-face BES sample avoided some of the problems of the pre-election polls and got the recalled Conservative lead over the Labour party about right. Is this potentially a sign that the mainsteam polling on the EU referendum could also be getting it wrong, and be understating the Remain lead? I would be very cautious before drawing any such conclusions, not least because of the timing of the fieldwork – polls now may be showing only small leads for Remain, but back in May to July when most of the BES fieldwork was done there were some bigger leads, especially from MORI and ComRes telephone polls, which had Remain at 63%, 65% and 75% in polls at the time.