We finally have a proper poll on the Labour leadership contest. In the Sun tomorrow YouGov have a poll of Labour party members, and of members of affiliated trade unions. Full results are here.

Amongst Labour party members David Miliband leads on first preferences, with 38% support, though Ed Miliband is not far behind on 32%. Diane Abbott is third with 13%, Andy Burnham on 10% and Ed Balls last on 7%. The second preferences of Diane Abbott and Ed Balls’ supportes split in favour of Ed Miliband, with Andy Burnham’s supporters splitting pretty equally between the two.

When all respondents are asked to pick who they would prefer between the Milibands (as a way of estimating what would happen once all the second, third and fourth preferences had fallen out), David Miliband and Ed Miliband are exactly equal amongst Labour party members, with 50% a piece once those who didn’t express a preference are excluded.

Turning to Trade Union members, David Miliband again comes top on first preferences with 34% support, followed by Ed Miliband on 26%, Diane Abbott on 17%, Burnham on 13% and Balls on 11% – the same order as amongst members. Second preferences of trade union voters though split either evenly between the Milibands, or in favour of David – meaning that David Miliband leads his brother by 56% to 44%.

The final section of the electorate college is the MPs. YouGov did not poll them, but has based a projection on the work Left Foot Forward have done, based on MPs nominations (adjusted to reflect the nominations that were “lent” to Diane Abbott from supporters of other campaigns). Their second preferences are based on a canvass of Abbott, Burnham and Balls supporters by Left Foot Forward, but relatively few would give responses meaning that YouGov have mostly assumed they will split evenly between the Milibands.

The conclusion of this, is that the race is between David and Ed Miliband, and it is very close. On YouGov’s current figures, David Miliband is ahead, but this is based solely upon the Trade Union vote and some quite flimsy assumptions about how MPs second preferences will split. The big trade unions have mostly endorsed Ed Miliband, and once they contact their members urging them to back Ed it may well shift the trade union vote in his favour. Equally, we really do have very little information on MPs second preferences, so the MP section of the college really could go either way.

Based on the polling so far, David Miliband leads, but it is perfectly possible for Ed Miliband to win.


259 Responses to “David Miliband narrowly ahead in YouGov Labour leadership poll”

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  1. Sono contento. Auguri!!!

  2. @ROGER MEXICO
    We have stopped arguing about elected PMs. A further quite unnecessary ego trip on the British Constitution does not alter the fact that the likes of Thatcher and Blair will always be regarded as “proper PMs” whereas the Homes and Browns will not.

  3. @VIRGILIO
    And I thought we had problems.

  4. Wonder what polls we’ll get tonight. Any juicy one’s for the Sundays……

  5. On the issue-de-jour (PM issue):

    IMHO Cameron is not an elected PM in the sense that he did not win the election- so it is a repeat of Wilson in February 1974 for example as well as others.

    But you have to say that this is not the same kind of ‘non-elected’ PM as Brown or Home.

    They became PM’s without contesting a GE and that is qualitatively different to fighting an election and not initially becoming PM because you did not actually win it.

    Cameron has a more rightful claim to being PM than Brown did: I always felt Brown should have held a GE within 3 months of becoming Labour leader.

  6. @ROB SHEFFIELD
    Rob, this is a fine time to show up and describe what I, inarticulate, unintelligent, shy, understated and Tory have been trying to say all bloody day.
    Better Late Than Never.

  7. ROLAND & ROB

    Actually, just to be picky about this, all Prime Ministers are unelected except as MP’s.

    The only person who gets to ‘elect’ or choose the PM is the queen. So rather a small electoral mandate. ;-)

    I’ll run away quickly now…

  8. @Gary

    !!!

    I feel the need to insult you but somehow I cant :-)

  9. Let’s not be thick here, Roland was being nice, saying that Rob had managed to sum up what he’d been trying to say all day. He was poking fun at himself.

  10. On a serious note – the whole unelected PM thing has never really bothered me – didn’t with Major or Brown.

    Its just our constitution. And personally, I think our politics is too presidential already without having a directly elected PM.

  11. Plus if we have an elected PM then the Queen has to give up the only power she really has.

    Actually, maybe its not a bad idea…

  12. “Let’s not be thick here, Roland was being nice, saying that Rob had managed to sum up what he’d been trying to say all day. He was poking fun at himself.”

    What an intelligent, observant, and magnanimous thing to say Sue.

    He was indeed-and he does it so well, not having had the state recommended humour bypass operation.

    ;-)

  13. @Rob Sheffield
    You have totally misjudged this matey. Sue was bang on the money, I was being highly supportive of your comment, which did encapsulate my view which I have been expanding for what seems like 3 weeks.
    I DO NOT sit on a lap top all day and I do not expect anyone else to. So wrong again.

  14. Just come in. Don;t know what’s been going on here but not interested in finding out (someone took a bait from Roland?).

    DM is cheapening himself scoring a point on DC’s faux pas. He does not need to do that (pushing an open door) and it’s probably more to with the subject of this thread.

  15. AW-

    editorial policy ?

  16. @Roland

    “Rob, this is a fine time to show up and describe what I, inarticulate, unintelligent, shy, understated and Tory have been trying to say all bloody day.”

    ‘supportive’?

    Crikey I am glad I am not a related to you mate.

  17. Just looking sanguinely at the table on the right of the thread, it doesn’t need any mania fromone of our contributors to learn that the new leader will have a mountain to climb. This list is dominated by one or two disappointed tactical LD voters but the poll shows that LD has migrated to Con, big time.

  18. Will some of you look at yourselves, the comments I’ve moderated out look like a bloody nursery.

    “David pulled my hair”
    “But sir, Rob started it”
    “Roland called me a big girl”

    Etc, etc. I’ve never felt the need to spell out in the comments policy that you should be polite and adult and actually discuss polls and politics, rather than how horrid and nasty other posters are – I thought it was self evident.

    Pull yourselves together, and if somebody says something that’s nasty and hurts your feelings rise above it. Sheesh!

  19. @WML/ Howard

    “Just looking sanguinely at the table on the right of the thread, it doesn’t need any mania fromone of our contributors to learn that the new leader will have a mountain to climb. This list is dominated by one or two disappointed tactical LD voters but the poll shows that LD has migrated to Con, big time.”

    A P*rtisan post ?

    DM is Nick and Dave’s worst nightmare.

    Much better for you to be up against “Planet Ed Milliband” or “Ed Ballsup”.

    But let’s see who wins first before trying to assassinate their character EH ? ;-)

  20. WML – I don’t understand, what do you mean?

  21. Rob S
    I find it very difficult to respond to your assertions, as they are innacurate and misplaced. The characters of these gentlemen, (I ignore the no-hoper lady) will be judged by the members, one of whom I am not.

    I shall be very surprised if DM does not win and I am sure he will be a very effective opposition leader.

    But his Pakistan statement i just saw on TV reminded me of the lead-up to the 1997 election.

    Then, Lab spokesmen were throwing around accusations without any regard for the true significance of them. Remember the ‘whatsit certificates’ from Robin Cook?

    As we were aching to get rid of the government, we tolerated the nonsense, but we knew that a lot of it was possibly unfair.

    Some civil servant shoving some bit of paper under your nose is a ministerial nightmare and Heseltine and others fell foul without even knowing it.

    Modern politics is IMO a continued pantomime of nuance and never of great substance.

    It’s because our governments are middle-of-the road so the edges of policy is all they have to disagree about.

    Six billion – what’s that?

  22. still don’t understand Howard????

  23. Dear oh dear. Just had a whizz through some of the recent posts and AW is right – it really has become a rather tetchy and childish thread.

    Don’t lose it folks – we all did rather well in the years before the election and it was for the most part thoroughly enjoyable to be involved. I’ll have to consider hanging my boots up if it carries on like this.

    What with access to all sorts of political news and discussion internet sites now closing off to those who don’t pay, there is a real need to keep some quality free to view forums going.

  24. Re Bigmouth

    You and I know the attention the public give these matters. The public hear “DC made some gaffs” then “Labour bloke calls him a bigmouth”

    Speaks to the electorate if you ask me.

    Those of a more nuanced disposition may conclude DM was a quietly effective foreign sec and DC has already caused too many waves, but that’s about it.

  25. @WML – “Remember the ‘whatsit certificates’ from Robin Cook”

    These were Public Interest Immunity Certificates, signed by ministers in order to prevent evidence being released to the Matrix Churchill trial that would have proved the accused directors were indeed innocent and that the government colluded in helping them sell arm to Iraq. By signing the orders and attempting to supress evidemce, the government were in effect knowingly seeking to condemn these men to prison terms to protect the government’s reputation.

    It led to the famous quote under oath from Alan Clarke who admitted to being “economical with the actualité” regarding arms exports.

    Far from being ‘nonsense’ it was a devastating indictment of the operation of government after an over long stay by one party in office. Robin Cook played the commons debate brilliantly and very nearly broke the government with one speech – had the full details been available that night he would have done.

    The Pakistan ‘gaffe’ is a gaffe alright – a huge gaffe in regional geopolitics terms which could haunt UK interests for many years to come in that part of the world. DM is right to pick up on it, but it isn’t in the same league as the Matrix Churchill affair – that really was the stuff that buries governments.

  26. I think we all have to ask ourselves what it is the public got fed up with about the Labour government.

    It seems they got fed up about a perceived waste and unfairness in public services, immigration, Iraq, too much control, bickering and in other quarters, we weren’t left wing enough.

    We can’t ask “What did Tory voters get fed up with” because they won’t vote Labour anyway.

    If cuts start to affect their hospitals or schools or jobs or interest rates in ways they don’t like, then voters will reassess a Labour government in light of a the coalition.
    If, however, the economy improves without to much perceived unfairness and changes to public services are made in a way that they approve of, then the coalition will do well.

    So, ironically, the economy could improve a la 1997 and it might not make the blindest bit of difference and Labour could win a landslide.
    Similarly, people may find their lives simpler and fairer and conclude that they were right about Labour all along.

    The test will be how important the economy is to people if they feel life is harder under the coalition?
    OR
    How important is the public sector if they find a little more money in their pockets and less speed cameras**??

    (** Due to the volatility of the thread today, don’t take it to mean that’s all I think the coalition are doing, it is a dig at the level of engagement of the electorate.

    As time goes on, I think the outcome of this government will rest on how much those things still matter to people when other things chang

  27. Sue
    Apparently not. (understand)

    I do not think the 6 billion would have made a huge difference but I await the proof with interest. is that what you meant?

  28. WML – I meant “Just looking sanguinely at the table on the right of the thread, it doesn’t need any mania fromone of our contributors to learn that the new leader will have a mountain to climb. This list is dominated by one or two disappointed tactical LD voters but the poll shows that LD has migrated to Con, big time.”

  29. Alec
    Was that the one where Robin C stated ‘Had I known what the ministerial reply would have been I might have tabled a motion of no confidence instead’ which at least amused John Major.

    I had a little problem feeling huge sympathy for arms salesmen, but i take your point.

  30. Sue
    I still don’t understand what i am to understand. The GE will be in 5 years time (nearly).

  31. WML – Did you mean this thread is dominated by a few tactical LD voters?

    As for Lib voters moving to the Tories, since the election, Lab are up 5-6%, the Tories are up 4-5% and the Libs are down 8-9%.

    The core Lib vote is still there at 14-15%, but surely the others were really just floating voters or tactical voters anyway? Now that the Libs are in coalition with the Tories, they seem to have decided to choose one of the main two instead, slightly more in favour of Lab than Con?

    The mountain you refer to then is surely opposing the Tories, persuading the general public that they have the better argument and getting those floating voters to vote for Lab instead?

  32. @ALL
    You mean when Roland said some spineless lefties actually quite like him, he wasn’t referring to me?
    Now I’m most disappointed. ;)

    @SUE / @VIRGILIO
    Berlusconi. :) :)

    re. DM leadership bid.
    In chess, there’s a theory that the best move is the one your opponent least wants you to make.
    On that basis, DM should be leader.

  33. The ‘big time’ moves (given that ‘the rest add up to about 9%) are four to labour and four to Con (maybe a couple from minors).

    So when I said bigtime I could have easily said ‘to Lab’ too.

    There is nothing unusual about this and in fact this ws the situation one year ago. The interesting discussion, it seems to me, is whither these floaters go beacause of the coalition history (as it will be).

    My view in advance of events is that they will not return to LD in Lab LD marginals and will in Con LD marginals. However that is a snapshot view, and much will depend on how DM profiles his party.

    He is by far superior to all the other candidates to do so IMO.

  34. ROLAND

    Humour is such a funny thing isn’t it?

    I got it-so is this a generation thing I ask myself?
    Not to get that…seems like not being able to understand ones own language.

    Does it involve the ability ( or inability) to accomodate & understand the offbeat: the quirky;the whimsical;-.the individualistic …………as well as the obvious; the regular & regulated; the standard & approved?

    This is fascinating & food for for much political thought. ;-)

  35. “The Pakistan ‘gaffe’ is a gaffe alright – a huge gaffe in regional geopolitics terms which could haunt UK interests for many years to come in that part of the world.”

    At some point , someone had to say what Cameron said :-

    From Reuters:-

    ” More than half of Pakistanis surveyed in a Pew poll say India is a bigger threat than al Qaeda or the Taliban.
    Only 23 percent thought the Taliban was the greatest threat to their country, and just 3 percent for al Qaeda, despite the rising tide of militant violence in not just Pakistan’s turbulent northwest region on the Afghan border, but also cities in the heartland
    Just 35% of Pakistanis have a negative view about Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan based organisation that New Delhi has blamed for a series of attacks in India including the Mumbai assault of 2008. a much lower percentage than for the other extremist organizations tested. One-in-four Pakistanis express a positive assessment, while 40% offer no opinion, Pew reported.
    Roughly six in10 (59 percent) Pakistanis describe the U.S. as an enemy
    The lesson unlearned in fifty years is that feeding Pakistan cash will not alter a national psychosis of war and hatred for the U.S,” as Dr. Aseem Shukla wrote in the Washington Post.”

  36. The latest local council by elections seem good for
    Labour?

  37. @Sue

    “We can’t ask ‘What did Tory voters get fed up with’ because they won’t vote Labour anyway.”

    This is actually a serious tactical error. Tory voters might not vote for Labour, but if you can make it harder for the Tories to make their supporters enthusiastic about getting out and voting then that’s a net gain.

    The reason for Labour’s loss was low supporter enthusiasm for Labour. Naturally, a lesson from the election is that you can’t count on that to deliver victory, but it does make it a lot easier.

  38. Jay – I do realise that, i was pointing out to the Blues on here that they might not “get” what is good for Labour any more than I might “get” what is good for them.

  39. Re: The Pakistan ‘Gaffe’.

    Just watched Sky News, which pre-election we can all agree saw no wrong with DC. They actually had the harshest attacks on him I’ve seen so far. Using the nice “Some People Say” line to call him “Deeply Insensitive”, and even giving DM an “International Statesman” presentation.

    Perhaps News Corp are feeling a little jilted?

    Re: Labour have an uphill battle.

    I think it’s a lot less uphill than thought of. They’re already only a couple points shy of being the largest party in the commons, and I’d expect fair chance of a Labour/Lib coalition as the result of an early election.

  40. @colin – “At some point , someone had to say what Cameron said…”

    That’s not the point. I actually agree with what he said, but that’s not the point of diplomacy. The question is does what he said and, critically, the place and timing of how he said it, help or hinder UK relations with a country where moderates are engaged in a critical battle with radical Islamists that will have huge ramifications for the UK if the radicals win.

    The fact that the poll you quote shows so many Pakistanis viewing India as the threat rather than Al Q isn’t a justification for what DC said – it’s a clear a vindication of the view that this is a monumental blunder. Saying these things in India has given the UK’s moderate friends in Pakistan real difficulties and makes holding a pro British line in their country very much tougher, as we have already seen.

    My suspicion, although I may be wrong, is that DC has decided to ‘talk tough’ on his recent visits as part of his image creating mission. He values PR highly, but PR and diplomacy don’t mix, and I suspect he may have foresaken the UK’s best interests in his haste to project a dynamic new image for himself.

  41. YouGov – 42/38/12

  42. Indeed Alec, Where IS everyone!! Actually, given the thread recently, can we not tell anyone and just talk amongst ourselves? ;)

  43. I had a quick flick through and it’s not actually all that uncommon for the libs to poll 11 or 12 when Labour do well, but nowhere have they done it so consistently for so long that I could see.

  44. @sue – “Indeed Alec, Where IS everyone!! Actually, given the thread recently, can we not tell anyone and just talk amongst ourselves”

    Wouldn’t be a bad move

  45. Garry K @ Ken

    It is right that Labour should reconsider its policies in opposition, but simply changing the policies that were unpopular or unsuccessful is to repeat the mistakes of New Labour.

    What you need to think about is this: By what mechnism did such unsucessful or unpopular policies came to be adopted in the first place?

    Your ex-members will be able to help you undersstand.

  46. @ALEC

    ” a country where moderates are engaged in a critical battle with radical Islamists”

    Pakistan is dominated by the Army-not the politicians.

    And the Army runs the ISI.

    And the ISI is supporting the Taleban in Afghanistan.

    The President of Afghanistan says so :-
    BBC news :-
    Mr Karzai told a news conference on Thursday in Kabul: “The war against terrorism is not in the villages or houses of Afghanistan… but in the sanctuaries, sources of funding and training [of terrorism] and they lie outside Afghanistan.
    Asked about claims of support from Islamabad for the Taliban, he said: “It is a different question whether Afghanistan has the ability to tackle this, but our allies have this capability; the question now is why they are not taking action?”

    So -Alec-I reject your “PR” accusations about Cameron’s remarks.

    My view is quite different.

    It is that he is fed up to the back teeth with briefings that senior Pakistan factions are supporting the people who are killing British Troops in Afghanistan.

    He is fed up to the back teeth with pouring British taxpayers money, and the lives of their loved ones into a war in which Pakistan cannot decide whether they are fighting with us , or against us.

    And he decided to say so.

  47. @Colin – two points.

    Firstly, the Afghan President isn’t a great source of truth and wisdom, and has a vested interest in blaming others for his own failings as a leader.

    Having said that, my second point is that i agree entirely with your analysis of the issues. But whether what DC said is true or not is absolutely not the point. The point is whether what he said will help or hinder UK foreign policy objectives. It’s clear they will hinder them. Peace in that region, on western terms, can only be delivered by a willing and supportive Pakistan. DC just made that very hard job even harder.

  48. A response to Rob Sheffield’s reply on Friday (July 30th) to me as part of the discussion on this thread.

    Rob says that after the 2010 Conference “Labour will have a very young and very talented front bench team”.

    I wouldn’t dispute that the Labour team will be youngish middle aged and that indeed they are very able in terms of conventional intelligence (numerical and verbal ability and so on).

    I would also add that none of the current Labour leadership candidates appear to have personal baggage like both Blair and Brown. So far as one can see looking on as a member of the public, and without using any particular knowledge (I have an M.Sc. in Occupational Psychology), both the recent Labour PMs had issues which should have been picked up. They were well intentioned but had politically fatal flaws.

    Blair seemed to have a pathological need to be liked, perhaps resulting from his school and other childhood history, which led to his kowtowing to George Bush Junior and to disaster over Iraq, and also over subservience to Anglo-American financial rip-offs, that outweighed any social and economic good he did in the short-term. Brown reportedly had issues with relations with his colleagues and with his temper that may perhaps – one cannot be sure without closer knowledge – have related to his eyesight problems (and which if acknowledged might well have been addressable).

    Labour has so far as I can see done nothing to ensure that it does not elect more leaders like Blair and Brown.

    My impression of the current Labour leadership contenders – and again it has to be very heavily qualified by the limited availability of necessary information to members of the public – is (leaving aside Dianne Abbot, who is quite possibly the best candidate, but who has her limitations too, and who won’t win) that they are all very intellectually able and solid administrators. But, so far as one can see, they are all what would once have been described as convergent thinkers. I don’t see any of them as having the charisma (Diane Abbot definitely scores best at this point) and imaginative flair that is needed for a Prime Minister as opposed to a solid cabinet follower. And perhaps most seriously, they don’t rock the boat. We need a Prime Minister who will take an uncomfortable principled stand (as Cameron has perhaps done over Pakistan), and frankly – and electors see this – the limited cabinet experience of the current Labour leadership contenders is such that there must be doubts as to how far any of them would stand up on principle for people’s interests when it comes down to immediate wheeling dealing with bureaucrats, big business, and foreign affairs.

    It is very possible that the qualities needed to be Prime Minister, and therefore party leader, are incompatible with the roles of minister or MP as they have evolved in recent years. It might be better to provide a ladder to Prime Minister via roles in regional or local government. In other words, the top job in a smaller democratic organisation than Westminster rather than a step up within the Westminster organisation. The very limited time Cameron and Clegg have spent as MPs is interesting in relation to this. But in the Labour Party such a route is totally impossible, although the Westminster experience of the current contenders compared to past generations of Labour leaders is again remarkable.

    When large organisations outside politics need a new leader, professional personnel advisers analyse what is needed to do the job,. Then they draw up a “person specification”. Then they hunt for somebody who meets that specification. The Conservatives approached this route when they looked for candidates for the 2010 election. But Labour are not up to speed.

    Labour have crashed straight into choosing a new leader without thinking first what knowledge, abilities and experience their leader needs.

    Unfortunately for Labour, my impression is that if you do seriously analyse the requirements for a good prime Minister, I suspect that one answer comes up very much like David Cameron (but not Nick Clegg). Or actually William Hague. I very much disagree with Cameron’s ideology, and the huge policy mistakes into which I think it is leading him. But in terms of personal profile, he is the first Prime Minister for a considerable time (possibly since Macmillan) who seems to fit the role.

    Perhaps whoever becomes the next Labour leader will inherit office after ConDem catastrophe (not a happy scenario). But would any of them in this circumstances be more that a “least bad” candidate in voters’ eyes? And if such a scenario doesn’t happen – and Governments implode far less often than frustrated oppositions hope – will any of the new Labour leaders have the imagination and charisma (leaving aside freedom from past “baggage”) to build positive electoral enthusiasm for Labour, in the manner for which John F Kennedy provides the paradigm case?”

    Put it this way. If in the TV debates at the next election the other parties’ candidates turned on any of the current Labour leadership contenders and sneered “You’re no John Kennedy”, what answer would they have?

  49. ALEC

    “Firstly, the Afghan President isn’t a great source of truth and wisdom, and has a vested interest in blaming others for his own failings as a leader. ”

    Karsai’s incompetence, and the tribally based corruption & graft are one thing-failure of the governance of Afghanistan.
    None of which -as you seem dangerously close to suggesting, implies that the involvement of Iran & Pakistani elements in the conflict, on the side of the Taliban is not a fact, has been a fact since the Russians went, and is universally acknowledged as a fact.

    “The point is whether what he said will help or hinder UK foreign policy objectives. It’s clear they will hinder them.”

    Well if telling the truth, after all these years of turning a blind eye to the blood of British troops on the hands of Pakistani authorities is not permitted because it hinders our “objectives” ( and what are they exactly?) -then you will need to explain what exactly is it that will stop Pakistan’s military meddling in the Afghan conflict-on the side of their allies’ enemies.

  50. @Fred S

    “My impression of the current Labour leadership contenders – and again it has to be very heavily qualified by the limited availability of necessary information to members of the public”

    Shurely this is a mishtake = they have just finished 8 weeks and twenty hustings which have been widely reported and several of which can be replayed on the web.

    If anyone apolitical and disinterested does not know anything about the candidates then that is – I would hazard a guess- a result of these two personal qualities.

    Anyone with an iota of interest in current affairs can find out whatever they want- which is more than can be said of Cameron in 2005… ;-)

    “Put it this way. If in the TV debates at the next election the other parties’ candidates turned on any of the current Labour leadership contenders and sneered “You’re no John Kennedy”, what answer would they have?”

    In answer to David Cameron “You are no Tony Blair Mr Prince Regent”

    In answer to Nicholas Clegg “You are no Paddy Ashdown Mr Theroux”

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