Sky News have just had the front page of the Sunday Times up, with a new YouGov poll of Labour members and eligible Trade Unionists, showing the two brothers neck and neck. It is very close – YouGov’s projection of the electoral college is now Ed Miliband on 51%, and David Miliband on 49%. In comparison, at the end of July David was 8 points ahead.

Nothing up yet on the Sunday Times website, so I’ll update properly later.

50 Responses to “YouGov have Ed & David Miliband neck and neck”

  1. But doesn’t Labour’s electoral college include a section comprised just of MPs? If so, then David should still win. After all, MPs are likely to give a higher priority to electoral success than are party members and trade unionists.

  2. Robin – the figure is taking that into account (based on Left Foot Forward’s tracking of MPs’ intentions). I’ll put up a more detailled post later once the Sunday Times put it up on their website.

  3. It’s irrelevant.

    Neither’s going to do much good.

    Alan Johnson was the best man to get Labour back in the race, but the desire for a young, good looking Blair clone ruled him out.

  4. Ok as a labour memeber, EM supporter and first time poster this is proof to me that Ed is going to win

    is this just on straight 1st pref or includes 2nd pref, add in 2nd pref and clear EM win

  5. I think it makes a difference to DC Tony.

  6. Is that still with the assumption of an even split of second PLPs preferences between DM and EM? I think that, considering the poll of Labour Councillors, might be a little naive.

  7. Ianrobo – this is in a final run off between the two. On first preferences David retains a narrow lead – David 36%, Ed 32%, Andy Burnham 12%, Ed Balls 11%, Diane Abbot 9%.

  8. thanks Anthony, so just two sections unknown, the MP’s who are supposed to favour DM by a decent % and the affiliates who would lean towards EM I think

    too close to call but my 9-2 bet on EM looking good :-)

  9. Jay – I’ll post more fully later, but yes – there is still no good data on MPs second preferences, so there is an assumption they’ll split evenly.

    I don’t think the Cllrs preferences are a good replacement at all – first preferences of Cllrs do not closely reflect first preferences of MPs, so no reason to think their second preferences would.

    If you do apply Cllrs 2nd and subsequent preferences to the MPs first preferences though (59% of reallocations going to DM, 41% to EM) then it would change the projection to 50%/50%.

  10. Of course, we can be pretty sure that a 50/50 split of ‘added run-off votes’ is unlikely.

    So what the poll really says is “If the PLP’s second and third preferences split in Ed’s favour, he wins, but if they split in David’s favour, he wins. But we don’t know how they will split.”

  11. Anthony,

    How relevant/important would you say this poll is?
    There does appear to be quite a shift to EM!

  12. Wayne as a lab member can I say that on various blogs and people I speak to it became clear that the Blair book would damage DM and DM quick backtrack away from Blair did not convince anyone

  13. @Wayne

    Circumstances render this poll less informative than it could have been. See my blog for an explanation why. (Link in the name on my post.)

  14. WAYNE

    Could you post a link to your blog which I am looking forward to visiting – I tip you to rival Guido Fawkes in a few months – but have you got the time and inclination to really get serious and become a rubbish bin afficiando because even though they have them so many people still can’t be bothered to use shredders. Go to it my boy.

  15. I think IanRobo is correct – it looks as though Ed’s success in hanging the ‘New Labour’ tag on his brother could be fatal to DM’s chances.

    I also think Ian Robo got very good odds on DM to win.

    As a Labour voter, I think it’s a real shame because some of the alleged ideological differences between the two brothers are manufactured rather than real – and I’m convinced DM would be a more compelling leader.

    If the party makes the wrong choice in this election, it will become apparent all too quickly: but then we will be saddled with the problem until the next election.

    Labour needs a leader who can communicate, who can hold an audience beyond the party’s natural heartland and who is sufficiently fluent to take on DC at PMQs and hold his own under cross examination from probing journalists.

    DM may have certain idiosyncrasies (the photo of him holding the banana didn’t look good) but the electorate will give him a pass on that sort of thing as long as he can convey a certain flair, confidence and a sense of being self-assured: DM has these leadership attributes.

  16. @jay

    you said

    “This forces YouGov to assume the PLP vote will have other-candidate-votes split 50/50 in a Miliband brother run-off. Something we can be almost certain won’t actually happen.”

    my guess is that when you look at the second prefs of the other three supporters Ed would split better than 50/50

    to win DM needs a big lead in the PLP, don’t see that

  17. Sorry… that should have read:

    I also think Ian Robo got very good odds on EM to win.

  18. @robinhood

    I had the bet on EM, he gets my first prefs

    a lot looked at the first pref figures the true story are the 2nd prefs and for example Diane will do well amongst the members and her 2nd prefs, well almost 100% EM I would guess

  19. DavidB

    Do you get paid for being insulting, or does it just come naturally?
    Rude man

  20. @Ianrobo

    The poll of Labour Councillors suggested that those who voted for Diane would actually be more likely to split in favour of David than Ed. Of course, that doesn’t mean that PLPs will split that way too.

  21. JayBlanc

    Thanks.. Very informative

  22. Jay, go you on twitter now

    I believe that poll is false, now in the PLP section Diane may only have a few votes, but look at teh names of her supporters (those who not switched back to DM, left wingers, no way will they support DM.

    Diane’s support in the party membership will be soley left and thus I would guess the vast majority to EM

  23. @Ian

    Remember my golden rule about Members of Parliament. Their first consideration is their seat. I can see left wing MPs rationalising a vote for DM as “I can’t push for left wing policies from the house of commons if I lose my seat to a condem!” Most MPs quickly learn political pragmatism.

  24. @robin hood

    you aid

    “As a Labour voter, I think it’s a real shame because some of the alleged ideological differences between the two brothers are manufactured rather than real – and I’m convinced DM would be a more compelling leader.”

    what made me convinced of Ed was his performance at teh Birmingham Hustings he was pure political dynamite. Full of passion and yes anger he really wants the job.

    DM however to me came across like he expected to win, talked at too high a level and for D the impact of the denial of torture stuff would come back to haunt him, Ed from what I have seen as no skeletons/

  25. Jay, you and others presume DM is the better leader

    what is that actually based on ?

    EM may well attract the lost working class voters better and lets be honest next GE it is unlikely MP’s will lose seats but we will be looking to gain

    many middle ground voters to me I believe as a EM supporter find him a better one over a number of years

  26. @Ian

    I presume nothing. I think both EM and DM wouldn’t have got this far without being leadership material. But as you say DM has the appearance of being more electable than EM.

  27. If Ed Milliband wins this will be the final nail in the coffin for the Labour Party and I speak as a Labour member.

    Ed Milliband’s aim, NO….HIS FIXATION…to rebrand the Labour Party and to distance itself from New Labour makes the Party look less principaled, less united, more left-wing and more desperate for power that they will do anything to taint the image of New Labour.

    Also, I think a lot of people misread Ed Milliband has being a “nice guy” and someone that the normal person on the street, the normal middle class family would love to have him over for tea. I think a lot of people, (especially since Nick Clegg betrayed his party’s image and was quick to proop up a right-wing government just to secure a good cosey job) are sick of “false, touchy, feely…i’d like to get to know you and rehearse an auidence’s name and person’s life stories politics”. The number of people I read on twitter who felt physically sick when Dave and Nick kept saying “your right john (auidence member)” during the debate and just looked false.

    I think Ed Milliband is far too polished, far to micro-managed by trade union PR and left-wing spin doctors that no will believe that he comes across geniue. Even I see him on t.v. and don’t believe he comes across geniue especially when he licked-boot and architectured new labour to begin with.

    Also, on debates and issues…(you should see him on newsnight) he can come across as quite stuborn, brutal and aggressive to people who don’t share his views and if he is going to win middle england he can’t just shout down to a middle class auidence that don’t want to be taxed more under his plans.

    On a final point…he would divide the Party…not as extreme as the 1980’s but he will divide the Party. You only have to listen to John Reid, Tony Blair, Mandaleson and David Blunkett that they are very open and honest when saying “we cannot ignore new labour’s achievements nor’ trash it”.

  28. @Andrew

    I could substitute “David” for “Ed” in your post, and it could work almost as well as a comment from the other side of the leadership race. ;)

  29. IanRobo,

    I do not buy this notion that EM is significantly more left wing than his brother.

    EM only came out against the Iraq war once the leadership campaign was under way – he did not speak out against the war back in 2003 when it mattered. In fact, he is on record on the “” website as having voted “Very strongly against an enquiry into the Iraq war”.

    The ideological differences between the two brothers are not that great. But what is significant is the fact that DM comes across on the television as a more skilled operator: and it’s through that medium that most elections are won or lost.

    Labour members will be making a mistake if they think victory at the next general election is a certainty: in fact, in the three post war periods of Tory government (1951-64, 1970-74 and 1979-97) the Conservatives won the popular vote on each occasion that they tried for a second term – i.e. 1955, Feb 1974 & 1979.

    History teaches us that it is not easy to defeat an incumbent Tory government that is seeking a second term: if we are to succeed, then one essential component of that success must be a leader who can reach out to the mainstream.

  30. Oh dear dear dear dear dear.

    Pure Labour Gold

  31. but history means nothing now Robin hood, the coalition adds in an whole new dimension

    look at the figures and labour lost something like 2 million voters to the LD’s in the years following 97 mostly on civil liberty and Iraq issues.

    simple maths says that if the Tories stay static and we claim back what are labour voters by being more ‘liberal’ well we have a govt don’t we ?

    Ed for me promises that and if DM can swallow his disappointment, why not go for a unique brother double act as leader and deputy ?

  32. Ianrobo – Ed is a candidate for Labour
    David is a candidate for Prime Minister

  33. Good grief – another mistake! That should have read:

    “the Conservatives won the popular vote on each occasion that they tried for a second term – i.e. 1955, Feb 1974 & 1983.

    It’s never a good idea to post after a visit to the pub!

  34. IanRobo,

    What you said in your post of 12.33 makes some sense – the ConDem coalition will make it somewhat easier to win back Lib Dem voters. Not sure why you think the Tories will remain static, though.

    There was a perception in 1987 that SDP leader David Owen favoured a coalition with the Tories over one with Labour: consequently, the Alliance lost a million or so votes to Labour. But it didn’t really enable Labour to make much of a dent in the Tory majority, did it?

    The big question for the next election is what narrative prevails: can the Tories imprint on the electorate’s mind that the cuts are somehow necessary because Labour allegedly got the country into an economic mess? If they can, then that could be as potent as the Tory PPB in the 1992 campaign which successfully raised the spectre of the Winter of Discontent.

    Soon, Labour will go ahead in the polls and will probably enjoy double digit leads for much of this parliament. Let’s enjoy our forthcoming mid term success, but please don’t let it blind us into a false sense that we are bound to win in 2015. We are not.

  35. @RH

    “Not sure why you think the Tories will remain static, though.”

    because if they could get only the votes they did in 2010, with all the rubbish surrounding labour, I simply do not see them getting any more votes after massive cuts ad no real chance of high economic growth.

    and if they think policies like the reorganisation of the NHS will gather more votes they are in delusion zone.

    I look at my local level and we would win back at least 5 seats on a modest swing from LD to LAB under of course current boundaries

    BTW the desperation by the tory press to paint EM – as as some kid of far left candidate indicates to me the massive threat they see him as.

  36. @ Robin Hood

    Thanks Robin, your the only one here making much sense about this and as I said Ed Milliband talks about the New Labour “comfort zone”….it was that “comfort zone” that helped win us three elections and tbh…what Ed Milliband is doing is retreating to the “old labour, left labour comfort zone”.

    Most people are moderates or small c conservatives. I mean, by god, I know some Labour voters who agree with Labour on taxation, spending and housing policies but totally disagree with them on same-sex marriage, immigration and law and order. It is this “cultural conservative” policies and “tough stance” on law and order that will win labour votes.

  37. @Robin Hood

    Also, contray to common misbelieves….the Labour vote hasn’t disappeared to the Lib Dems because the libdems made significant gains in “traditional die-hard south” tory areas where Labour stand no chance of ever winning down there.

    The fact is, ed milliband does not need to go down the left-wing, old labour root because those 29% who voted labour in the last election ARE the core, old labour heartland voters. We stand to make nothing more than cherry pickings if labour decides to vote for ed.

  38. New thread folks.

  39. I simply wish the DM supporters stop this idiotic posturing about it’ll be an absolute disaster if he doesn’t win. Society and politics isn’t a static monument, but a living breathing beast. Even DM said they had to move on from New Labour.

    And the hard evidence for their opinions? Well not this poll, or any other.

    In case anybody failed to notice, both brothers were in the cabinet of a New Labour government.

    Having Mandy, Campbell et al. actively suporting DM harms his campaign. If they really wanted him to win they’d have kept stumm. (Unless they are delusional.)

    Having if confirmed that TB preferred DM doesn’t help the DM team either.

    The momentum is with EM for a number of reasons, one of which may be that he is a better campaigner, or has a team more in touch with this particular electorate.

  40. Thomas,

    I agree.

    It has not been nice seeing DM fans make the two central themes of argument the following.

    1. Scare scare scare… go left an we are doomed. The only way to win is by presentation and positioning. if you dont vote DM you are dyed in the wool ‘hard left’

    2. Fix what went wrong during G Brown’s era and the public will vote us in again. Thus, bar Iraq – everything pre- 2007 was rosy.

  41. I think I voted for the next Labour Prime Minister, but not for the next Labour leader.

    The accepted view of EM as an affable and articulate everyman is simply at odds with all I have seen in hustings and read in policy debates. He seems fixated on student finances and highlighting Labour failings in government – both issues of very little electoral consequence (important though they undoubtedly are). This to me signals a likely inability to construct a narrative which will capture enough of the ‘lost’ four million votes to win back serious power with.

    Andy Burnham appears to have had the best campaign in terms of picking up voters (like me) who previously had little knowledge of his credentials. His policies (land tax, NHS, Care service) are genuinely refreshing and, for me, his tone and style appear the most appealing and direct.

    I do hope EM doesn’t win, as I fear he will be picked apart as cerebral, tribal and ever so slightly ‘sixth form common room’. DM was my second preference on the basis that he seems the other candidate best placed to present a strong, but electable, opposition voice.

  42. Hi Eoin,
    I think you’re right, too much negative comment from the ‘fans’, possibly because they were finding nobody wanted to listen to the ‘positive’ message.

    His percentage of the vote has been pretty static through the whole campaign, and this must be frustrating, and we’ve witnessed the results of this frustration amongst his supporters effectively helping Ed.

    I think of myself as being to the right of the party economically, but yes, labelled as a died in the wool leftie for suggesting DM wasn’t a perfect choice. Result: No way am I going to help those numpties get their preferred candidate elected.

    Irony is that currently DM is doing pretty well on the Politics Show, but a bit too late maybe. Regardless, I would expect either Miliband to be a good leader.

    I just hope DM keeps his backers in line if it’s him, because they seem intent on creating division out of nothing.

  43. Thomas,

    I have never read a single sentence from a pro-DM supporter saying that they will back another candidate 100% should he win. That worry’s me.

    There were times when I was one of the very few persons articulating an alternative to DM on UKPR. I took dog’s abuse from several of them. Some of the labels include being a Trotskyites, living in the past, too dogmatic to move, voluntary electorla suicide etc…

    Now to do you want to hear the funny bit?

    I supported and voted for AB- noone else.

    If an AB fan can be called that, what must the poor Dianne Abbot fans get.

    Tolerance of a difference of opinion was very sadly lacking to a much worse degree than i have ever had from a blue.

  44. Hi Eoin,
    ‘I have never read a single sentence from a pro-DM supporter saying that they will back another candidate 100% should he win. That worry’s me’

    Not just you.

    Some people expected this to be a formality and don’t like the fact it isn’t.

    I don’t think they care about DA because she won’t win and it’s unlikely they could get votes from her supporters.

    The abuse is a measure of the closeness. I assume DM would disown these people if he could. They aren’t helping him. I imagine now it’s difficult for him to castigate the misguided amongst his own support, because that could hand victory to EM as well.

    Interestingly the blogosphere is full of people who’ve said they voted for someone else, in my case EM, with AB second pref, but I don’t rate AB’s chances.

    The DM fans seem a minority, but as they represent just over 1 in 3 members on first preference that’s hardly surprising.

  45. I seriously doubt that election of Ed will result in a PUMA problem for Labour. And certainly not one as large as Cameron faces from the Conservatives, or Clegg is starting to face.

    The difference between DM and EM seem to be that DM is campaigning on Electability, wile EM is campaigning as Labour leader. But there’s not really that great a difference between them. EM’s choice may well be campaigning more for the audience electing him, and he could well shift to the centre once leader to fit a national parliamentary campaign.

  46. A number of recent posts on this thread have been highlighting alleged negative tactics by supporters of DM.

    I’m sorry if my posts have seemed at all negative, but I have absolutely no connection at all with the DM campaign: I’m merely expressing a point of view about what I see as the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

    This is a dialogue we really do have to have – because whoever we choose will be put under enormous scrutiny by the media (and that’s when things will really get brutal).

    I speak as someone who is, on a range of issues (especially race relations) to the left of the party mainstream – but my primary objective is a desire to see Labour win the next general election.

    Because, as Neil Kinnock said when he was trying to reform the party in the 1980s, “principle without power is futile” (or words to that effect).

    If EM wins then we all unite behind him: I know I will. He will doubtless enjoy a honeymoon period and we will probably take a lead in the polls for the first time in three years during the closing days of the conference.

    History tells us that if our poll lead rises to a consistent 20% during the middle of the parliament, then we should win: anything significantly less and we are in for a struggle in 2015.

  47. @Eoin

    ‘I have never read a single sentence from a pro-DM supporter saying that they will back another candidate 100% should he win. That worry’s me’</O

    For some strange reason you seem to have omitted that I said that clearly weeks ago ;-)

    Ditto- I have never read a similar declaration by YOU concerning the election of DM to leader. Other than an allusion to leaving the party the other day….

    Do as I say not what I do huh ??

  48. Rob S,

    Below is a 6th August Excahnge.

    Eoin Clarke

    Sue I agree 100%. DM would do a decent job… he would still attract the same Labour hard core and he would nab a few votes from yellow and blue.. The elction in 2015 would be close. If life was about winning elections, we would stand a decent chance. I have never said he would be an electoral disaster… If he proved to be a delegator, some good ideas might come out of the party. In addition, he would be a good international statesman. My difference with him is almost wholly ideological.

    3. Eoin: Would you be happy to do so with Ed Mill as leader- because lets face it that is where we are headed?
    4. ROB: I don’t think that we are heading there and have never gone along with the ‘hot-house-hype’ within the narrow left on this matter But I will support the leader whoever that is, as I supported Jim, Michael, Neil, John, Tony and Gordon before. In any case-if Ed M were elected- once he is you will see an extremely quick tack back towards the centre as he no longer needs all those Union leaders and labour movement activists. But he won’t win an election- not ‘planet Ed’.

    August 6th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

  49. Bit sad that Wayne Rooney is getting ten times the coverage of all the candidates put together.

  50. The voting system in the labour party is too confusing.