YouGov have carried out a fresh poll of Labour party members and Trade Unionists for tomorrow’s Sunday Times. Six weeks ago a similar YouGov poll found David Miliband eight points ahead; today’s poll finds the two Milibands neck and neck, with Ed Miliband very narrowly ahead. For those of you with subscriptions, the Sunday Times’s full report can be found here.

As before, YouGov asked people their first preference, their second preference, and then who they would prefer between the two Milibands (based on the, thankfully correct, assumption that the poll would show the two Milibands coming up top on the early preferences). Samples of party members and members of Labour affiliated trade unions were polled, and MPs preferences were based upon updated work by Left Foot Forward.

The main shift is amongst Trade Unionists. In the Labour member section there is only a small movement towards Ed – in July the two brothers were equal on 50% each, now Ed is ahead by 4 points. Amongst the MPs and MEPs section there has been a very slight movement towards David, and Left Foot Forward’s projected split for MPs & MEPs is now David 56%, Ed 44%. Amongst Trade Unionists there has been a large movement, in July we found a lead of 12 points for David amongst eligible trade unionists. Since then there has been a huge shift, and Ed now leads David in that section by 57% to 43%. Prima facie, it would appear that trade union encouragement of their members to back the candidate they endorsed had a decisive effect.

Putting all three parts of the college together this leaves Ed two points ahead, 51% to 49%. David Miliband is still ahead amongst MPs, but it’s not enough to overcome Ed Miliband’s lead among members and trade unionists.

One big caveat is MPs second preferences – Left Foot Forward have a good canvas of how MPs will cast their first preferences, but there is little good information on how MPs will cast their second preferences. In both YouGov projections we have made the crude assumption that the second preferences of MPs who back Abbott, Balls and Burnham will divide evenly between David and Ed Miliband, but obviously this could go either way. About two thirds of MPs are backing a Miliband anyway, so this unknown section makes up a third of a third of the total vote – about 10%. Another unknown is turnout, but notably over 40% of those polled said they had already voted, and these respondents were more likely to backing Ed Miliband, so if YouGov have included too many unlikely voters, the result should be more favourable to Ed than this suggests.

With the MPs second preferences unknown and the two candidates within the margin of error it really could go either way, but Ed Miliband is now in poll position.

Meanwhile, on YouGov’s standard daily polling (an entirely seperate poll, obviously) voting intention stands at CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 14%. YouGov also asked about the future of Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s Director of Communications who was editor of the News of the World at the time of the phone tapping scandal. 48% think Coulson should go, 24% that he should keep his job.

414 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times Labour leadership poll”

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  1. @ Rob Sheffield

    I hating to sound like Gordon Brown during the first leadership debates but you see I agree with Rob. LOL.

    I think we still need the research and science which might take some years to get conclusive arguments on drugs. I am not saying I am not for, piloting legalising drugs but if the research and it would have to be a lot of research, if we got the evidence to say it would be less harmful than think and save money that perhaps a “trail legalising” should be tested.

    We can examine our society and people’s health on that. Perhaps the law could have a clause like “cannabis will therefore be legalised on this date and the ending of the legalising of drugs will end on this date unless further ammendments are made”. So, we could perhaps set a time limit and then using our society as a real social experiment.

    However, considering this is my own argument, i do worry if the government used us as ginnie pigs and then it all goes wrong. However, we are never going to know the answer until tried and pratice in a real situation.

    But, even saying that. I’m still convinced that the costs would equal too or outweight the benefits of legalising drugs.

  2. Andrew.


    Sue has just prompted me to read up on Sweden since she quoted it.

    What I found was a surprise in view of her comments.

    I need to learn more-thank god for the internet.
    Till then I agree with you on drugs policy.

    Re :
    ” Can I ask which Political Party you support? Or is that being rude? LOL”

    Sadly it is very rude here now-but I don’t mind.

    I am a Conservative supporter-and hence-currently ( :-) ) a supporter of the Coalition.

  3. The flaw I see in Sue’s plan is the: Give them as much as they need.
    1. There’d be a queque of ‘addicts’ at their GP surgeries looking for the maximum prescription; &
    2. The blackmarket would incredibly lively. Those who don’t want counselling, treatment etc. will simply buy from those who are willing to spend the time ‘jumping through the hoops’ to get their prescriptions.

  4. @Colin

    My guessings had you down as a Conservative lol. However, if you were to here my social issues then you could perhaps have me down as a Conservative too lol.

    Since your so kind to say your allegiance I will tell you mine. I suppose I am a reborn New Labour person. Although I am very disappointed where my party is heading should ed milliband win and I even think Tony Blair didn’t have the bottle to go further on NHS, welfare, education and spending reforms.

    However, like Thatcherism and Bennism I suppose I am going to be another of the dying breeds of hard New Labourites and will just simply have to put up and shut up once ed takes overs.

    And hmmmm, Sweden??? You mentioned surprise I take it that Sue is opposed to the Swedish model of the economy or welfare since shes a centre-left Labour support and her views surprised you considering most centre-left people like the Swedish model.

  5. @Amber

    Oh yeah, i never thought of that. That would happen.

    Oh well, theres no point me carrying on this because Sue’s never going to persaude me and I’m never going to persaude sue or the other people who supports legalising drugs.

    Like Tony Benn said “the labour party isn’t a socialist party, its a big group. We take in anyone”. And like most big groups your going to find big differences in political philsophory.

  6. Andrew

    I like the idea of “hard New Labourites “. ;-)

    RE Sweden-I was refering to Swedish drugs policy. As I understand it, it is quite the opposite of liberal.

    Having said that -have just been reading up on grug use levels in that drug tourist magnet the Netherlands-low apparently.

    This is a very complex issue. I share your concerns & Amber’s too.

    Isn’t it great when views cross political boundaries ?

  7. @Colin

    LOL…yes, its no longer the hard left in Labour just the hard new labourites lol. Honestly, I have views on welfare, taxation, NHS and education that would make even Frank Field weep and scream “Tory extremist” ;)

    Sweden…thats very surprising that they have a zero-tolerance drugs policy :S. I always saw Sweden as “the very few” successful mixed market economies and social liberalism. Hmmm, strange.

    And yes…its very exciting when your political views isn’t just stuck in a box, toeing the line with the Party. It keeps healthy debate and questions interesting and just fresh for politics in general.

    I mean, I’m not sure how Conservative you are but even as a New Labour voters I think the coalition is doing not bad atm. I support IDS welfare reform (doubt it will ever get done though), id even say lets go further. The cuts I think needed tackling this year, although not at the pace they are planning but not bad, and constitutional change is now having a serious look at.

    Theres just the issue of crime, immigration, NHS reform (although I agree it needs reform i favour an insurance based system) and VAT that stops me joining.

  8. @ Colin,

    My political views can be quite cerebral at times (as you’ve kindly noticed) but I have a pragmatic turn of mind when it comes to implementing policies.

    I must confess, I have seen quite a few New Labour policies in the past when I thought: Let’s see what happens, now…. & yes, we’ve got ourselves a ‘show’.

  9. Amber


  10. Hard New Labourites.

    that has to stick. :)

  11. @ Eoin

    LOL. I’m assuming you either mean that Labour has to stick with the Hard New Labourites or that the term of phase should be added to the political dictionary LOL.

    You know what. I’ve still got three weeks before university season. I might decide to write an essay about my new definition :D

  12. Cannabis Culture by Patrick Matthews. From the perspective of a teenager wanting to be ‘cool’, who went on to become a serious wine buff in adult life, and then ‘inhaled’ again under duress while reseaching the book.

    As Sue points out mood manipulation has been an enduring feature of human civilisation.
    I was struck by a remark, I forget who, about how drug use really took off in the 19c: narcotics to take time out to stand and stare, cocaine in an attempt to keep up with the rapid pace of industrial and technological change.
    We are all about productivity now and so puritanical, no wonder many people have adjustment problems.

    I agree with Nick (Farrage :) ) if only on this. “Take time to smell the flowers along the way.”

  13. Lots of chatter today (and reports/ articles) on a formal electoral pact between the Lib Dems and Conservatives by ‘the end of the year’ (though Cameron made the equivocal ‘no plans currently’ statement).

    Perhaps the formal Lib Dem split will come quicker then previous predictions on here calculated.

  14. Andrew- It would make a good essay (the latter definition) Most certainly not the first. By instinct the word ‘New’ makes me recoil. My fault I realise. I’m still working my way through the 20th century :)

  15. @Rob

    If Ed gets elected leader then thats the best shot Labour have in winning the next election. An bitterly divided libdem party that hates the idea of prooping up a labour government let alone an electoral pact will just explode the silent disapproval by libdem members and voters.

    Lets hope David Milliband wins the leadership though because Labour needs a lot more than LibDem voters charity.

  16. “Hard New Labour”

    That expression points to a division of Labour into quadrants. In your three remaining weeks of freedom, Andrew, you’ll surely have time to complete all four corresponding essays. I’m hoping to see “Soft Old Labour” next…

  17. @Eoin

    :) Its okay, the 20th century were far better and exciting times compared to the 21st century anyway lol.

    But yes, when I get time I might try and write an essay about the history, development, definition and the possible future of the New Labourite politics. Although I fear that some of my own personal views of what New Labour should be about will get greater endorsement from the Tory camp, although I’m all for diversity. :D.

  18. Rob S
    If such came about, a substantial move from Con to Lib Dem would be needed and I think would be more likely to see Con split than we and it would be a bigger one..

    STV, Europe, Enviromment, where would you like to start?.

  19. @Michael Elliott

    Please…spare this. Labour is nothing like it was back in the 1980’s although I’ll admit there will be some spites and spakes however, the idea that a sizeable majority share my “new labour” belief is nonsense.

    I call for the NHS to be totally restructed into a social insurance model (not many of Labour comrades will endorse that), I believe that we should develop of much radical education policy (thats a no no), I believe that tuition fees should be kept (which I think will be abandoned come any new leader) and that we should introduce a single comprenhsive benefit called a minimum income guarteer and abolish the rest.

    I am no more threatening to the Labour Party than Tony Benn is now. Labour will never accept my endorsement, however, like Tony Benn I see myself as a loyalist, a party faithful rather than a betrayer.

  20. From YG email just now:

    “51% of Labour party members think that the New Labour approach to politics is wholly (5%) or largely (46%) right, 47% think it it largely (36%) or wholly (11%) wrong, and should be abandoned.”

    51-47: definition of a split :-)

    Though I expect the final total in the leadership campaign to be of Benn – Healey dimensions i.e. less than a percentage point betwen the two Brothers.

    Leading to some on the losing side taking it very badly and those on the winning side behaving badly…..

  21. @Rob

    Trouble with this survey is that what can be defined as “New Labour”. Trouble is, New Labour is such a vague concept that it can be taken into many interptations.

    What should have been done is people should be tested on their political views by statment, by statment issues and then using a number system rank their political ideology and then review it from that.

    I mean, my dad is a socialist but he thinks Tony Blair and New Labour has been a success for Britain. Ask him does he think NHS, education, transport services has been a success he would argue yes New Labour was a success.

    Ask him, do you support private financed sponsored incitivies within the NHS and schools, he would argue NO its profoundly wrong and always has done.

    Unlike most socialists, he is more open to change and still votes Labour or would vote for “the winning or close to winning party that shares his ideology”. Like if he knee the Green candidate would stand a chance of winning, he would vote Green.

  22. Rob S
    How right you are and how this demonstrates why we need STV so that we can give the various strands, see my last, their full opportunity for expression.

    The Lib Con agreement has shewn that adults can behave as adults.

    I have to admit a 50-50 on something basic does throw everything up in the air though, for potential coalitions.

    I cite Belgium, which you know well, Flanders vs Wallonie (although that is the same as Scots and English) and Netherlands, although that is about immigrant culture. Neither schism is about conventional left and right politics.

  23. Howard

    If such came about, a substantial move from Con to Lib Dem would be needed and I think would be more likely to see Con split than we and it would be a bigger one..

    If that happened then you would be right. But on the key substantive and crucial policy issues this is a Tory government (with the Lib Dems getting some fig leafs like reducing CCTV/ not tackling ASB ,er, the ‘overbearing state’/ removing kids from their parents who are in detention centres and the suggestion that prison does not work for convicted criminals. On migration, on the economy and on benefits they have not fared the same.

    It’s been effectively a Tory take over and I would imagine any electoral pact not being about policy changes (what would be the benefit to Cameron-Osborne of that i.e. it would simply stir up the Tory right as you correctly predict) but actually simply about a rather cynical electoral arithmetic.

    There are hundreds of council wards and tens of Parliamentary seats where the Lib Dems fight the Conservatives as their main opposition. That is where the split will come from and people like Charles K and Simon H who have already ruled out 100% any form of pact (policy shift or not).

    But the Orangies- who are noisily and publicly signed up to Osborne’s ‘smash the state’ rhetoric -would jump at any form of electoral pact.

  24. @Rob

    Also Rob…hints why I’ve decided to call people who share Blair’s views, public service reform, the size of the state and the views that I say I call them the “Hard New Labourite”.

    We people do exsit within the Labour Party but we are a small minority, then we got the “soft new labourite”, “moderates/progressives”, “centrists”, “centre-left” and then finally “old Labour”.

  25. @Rob

    I agree on your point about how the orange has “drowned” the yellows because they are the ones with the government jobs (least the important ones) and its slowly showing how spinnless the lib dems are becoming (despite being a LOT of libs who still social liberals but they haven’t got government machines to get their message across).

    Even myself, a New Labour person agrees on Howards point that just increases the need for STV. Not very popular with old labour or new labour but I think we should develop…at least the German electoral model, the same they have in Scotland with a split 50:50 vote because I believe MP’s need to be locally accountable but I also believe in fair votes.

  26. @Howard

    On Flemish- Waloons

    Have you noticed that just last week the latest round of talks to try and form a coalition collapsed. These talks based on the results of the July election- itself undertaken earlier than timetabled as that previous government coalition collapsed !!!

    They use d’hondt (almost strict proportionality) plus this is actually about two ‘volk/ mensen’ with different languages , cultures and values and the fact that neither feels able to give up Brussel/ Bruxelles.

    On Lib-Con amendment if I were a social liberal member of the party I’d feel utterly short changed already (why Charlie K voted against it).

    The number of LD councillors, activists, members and voters feeling short changed by this coalition is only going to grow and grow. Unfortunately I don’t think this will lead to much “adult” politics :-)

  27. Rob S
    Clearly the LD’s are a minority representation in the Government but what should they expect? Look at then seats won. As long as you have no hang up about coalition with the Tories (a big if0 the average LD| is more than quite pleased to see his policies being implemented.

    The hiving off of LD voters who were very socialist minded is due to disappointment that LD combined with Con. Now, the proposed cuts are cementing that feeling, but those voters are refusing, mentally, to admit it would have been much the same under Darling (and it would have been Darling).

    Next year about this time will find people reviewing their attitudes. We must remember that nothing has happened yet. I keep reminding us of that fact,t but in the minds of the floaters, the worst has happened and it’s all the Lib Con fault.

  28. @Andrew Chandler

    I’ve been in favour of STV since the 1980’s.

    And four year fixed terms; and I am tempted (though currently agnostic) on compulsory voting- as used in several continental countries (including the aforementioned Belgium) and Australia.

    On labour leadership- AB has criticised various elements and rightly so.

    IMHO the election of the labour leader should be like the Lib Dem election i.e. strict OMOV.

    No electoral college and no direct union involvement (though members of TU’s who are also LP members will have a vote obviously).

    It is the EC that has made this a 2 horse race from the beginning; the MP’s/ MEP’s falling behind DM by a big majority and the Trades Unions executives falling behind EM.

  29. @Howard

    it would have been much the same under Darling</I

    Ahem- about 40 billion less and over a longer period of time 8-)

    Some might even say “economically literate” ;-)

    Let us wait for the new leader to get the economic policy up and running as it won’t be the same as the one Darling suggested.

    But it will involve cuts even if Ed B gets CoE shadow. AB is good on the need for careful deficit reduction.

  30. Andrew,

    “the idea that a sizeable majority share my “new labour” belief is nonsense.”

    I can well believe it, though I think you might have read more into my preceding comment than was intended. I wasn’t *seriously* advocating a categorisation of Labour into four sections, much less suggesting that the Hard Newies constitute a threatening force; I was merely alluding, flippantly, to the idea of a four-way subdivision thrown up by the “Hard New” nomenclature.

  31. Oh dear me that should be

    it would have been much the same under Darling

    Ahem- about 40 billion less and over a longer period of time 8-)

    Some might even say “economically literate” ;-)

    Let us wait for the new leader to get the economic policy up and running as it won’t be the same as the one Darling suggested.

    But it will involve cuts even if Ed B gets CoE shadow. AB is good on the need for careful deficit reduction.

  32. Rob and Andrew
    This is becoming a threesome while I take tea (no scones) but I feel that we can only have these discussions in what is essentially a political wilderness at present (the local by-elections last week taught us zilch).

    On Belgium, yes the city is essentially Flemish in architecture and most of its older history but since Napoleon, the French influence took over and the city was crammed with its acolytes.

    Like most cities, it’s also full of immigrants (20%) with an alien culture and the original artisans and clerical types have moved out long ago to safer satellites, as they see it..

  33. By ‘the city’ I meant of course Brussels.

  34. The YouGov tables are fianlyl up for the Ed and Dave show….

    1. Ed leads among ordinary party members

    2. Ed leads among rank and file union members

    3. Dave leads among those elected.

    h ttp://

  35. The Labour leaders poll details are now up on the YouGov website. As Anthony says in the post there isn’t much movement except among the TU members who’ve voted and the sub-sample is quite small (250-ish). As well as Union recommendation, some of this may come from DKs learning about the less known candidates.

    Quick question for Labour supporters or members. If Ed M wins among both Party members and Union affiliates but loses because of MPs and MEPs, will this cause resentment? It would certainly expose David M to some ridicule from Cameron and Clegg – both elected on one member, one vote.


    Labour membership is believed to have increased by at least 20% since the election and there is anecdotal evidence that these new members favour Ed over David M. Would your sample tend to include the newbies?

    Also could you ask whoever’s posting to the archive this week to stop making everything so small? 8O

  36. @Michael

    For that I dearly appolygise, however, I think your hope that the Conservatives/Coalition can win alone because Labour will get more divided makes much less sense than Ed Balls idea that we should oppose EVERYTHING the coalition does and do nothing to reduce the deficit.

    Labour is less active than it use to be in 1980s and even 1997 when there was an active united force. Nowerdays, Labour MP’s would much rather bitch about Labour’s direction in their memoirs because it will sell better than just publicly stating it for free. Labour members, MP’s have probably learnt from the past that united unpopular Party is better than a ununited unpopular Party (in reference to 1983 election).

    I mean, even in 2010 Labour in the six months before the election managed to survive. That would be because even though we were as unpopular in the share of the vote as Michael Foot, we constructed a united front.

    I do agree though there will be some bickering…and sadly that will be from the unions. Ed Milliband will have a honeymoon period but he’s put himself too closely to the unions and has put his hands too deep into the pockets of the unions. The unions wont destroy Labour, but it will, once the unions begin their anti-coalition protest slim Labour’s chances of victory and all Ed will get is cherrypickings.

    Yes, ED will help labour gain more seats from Lib Dems but Labour will only be a stronger opposition party and not a governing party unlike brother David who will deliever us government.

  37. The Darling proposals were excellent ones and we must remember the NI increases are going through much as he planned, despite all the noise during the election. All we don’t know yet is the difference between the cuts as he envisaged, and what will be proposed. We don’t know Rob what they would have been because Bryne said it would depend what the CSR would throw up. We have also since then had the small matter of the GISPE wobbles, which has provided the reason (excuse?) for stronger action.

  38. Roger,

    Your opinion please (and Anthony if you are about)?

    What is the likeliehood that the MP/MEPS will split 50-50? I am sure you noted the (**)?

  39. Eoin

    That was the caveat t(MPs 50-50) that our colleague (Garry was he) posted Saturday.

  40. @Roger Mexico

    If Ed M wins among both Party members and Union affiliates but loses because of MPs and MEPs, will this cause resentment?</i

    Short answer would be yes- amongst that 47% who feel New Labour should be dead and buried.

    Not amongst the 51% who want to move on but from NL as the starting point ;-)

    As I have put on the other new thread though- we should be a OMOV pary not this absurd ‘college’ which gives MP’s and Union executives far too much influence.

  41. one of these days I will get this right more often than not

    @Roger Mexico

    If Ed M wins among both Party members and Union affiliates but loses because of MPs and MEPs, will this cause resentment?

    Short answer would be yes- amongst that 47% who feel New Labour should be dead and buried.

    Not amongst the 51% who want to move on but from NL as the starting point ;-)

    As I have put on the other new thread though- we should be a OMOV pary not this absurd ‘college’ which gives MP’s and Union executives far too much influence.

  42. @ Rob

    The 1980’s is an example of a lost generation of people who began to become synical and depressed about politics which was then exploded in 2001 when they just could not feel they could deal with it anymore. This is why I’ve changed my stuborn attitudes to STV in the last year because it produces unfair outcomes that the electorate do not want. 58% of the electorate opposed Thatcher’s policies in some light or the other but the unfair electoral system destroyed all chance of it.

    Where me and you differ is how much STV. You believe in a whole one, i believe in a 50:50 STV and constituency one for simply reason that it should be fair, but should be local.

    And I also agree on your views on the electoral college. The EC will never be abolished because Labour depends so much on the trade unions but its profounding unfair that “half-paid, unpaid” members should decide the outcome of our leadership election for the Labour leadership, not members.

    And while this sounds over ambition but this is why I want to get involved in Labour politics to try and persaude the Party to ditch EC. Either as a member, either at conferences or meetings, either as a MP or by god even if I have to become Labour leader I want EC dead, buried and cremated.

  43. On the college

    I would expect

    * TU section to be significantly more pro EM than this poll
    * The members section to be closer than this poll possibly evenly split
    * The MP’s/ MEP’s to be significantly more pro DM than this poll


    Less than a % point between them 8-)

  44. Howard,


    If the one section of the three where DM is actually in front is based on a 50 50 split- assumption then he really is up a creek without a paddle. I know you badly wanted a DM win to bail LDs out of their pickle Howard but its looking less and less likely.

  45. Andrew

    “For that I dearly appolygise, however, I think your hope that the Conservatives/Coalition can win alone because Labour will get more divided makes much less sense”

    No need to apologise! But I seem to have managed to give quite the wrong impression: I’m not hoping for the Conservatives/Coalition to win the next election at all, whether because of a divided Labour Party or for any other reason.

  46. @Michael

    Oh god, i cannot stop offending you today LOL. Again I appolygise, I probably made that remark because I’ve been feeling more New Labour today than I normally do that I needed a Tory to make me look different.

  47. Eoin

    With regard to MPs and MEPs I have absolutely no knowledge except the conviction that a large number of them may be lying through their teeth. :D

    Andrew Chandler

    With regard to your 2:27pm post I certainly wasn’t trying to misrepresent your views on gay marriage and I don’t think anyone was. I just was uncertain where you had got your idea that there was an attempt to force any church to conduct them under duress. I replied at greater length at 3:01am; you may have missed it due to sensibly going to bed.

    There’s also another post on drug policy at 2:05am which went into moderation until this morning, so you probably missed that as well (the automatic moderator was being very picky last night).

  48. Haha! No bother, Andrew. Indeed, if it’ll be any help, I’m sure I could be a Tory for the day. :D

  49. OldNat – “Legalise all drugs – it will never happen, in this country.”
    Nor in any other. The USA ensured that its “war on drugs” was exported throughout the world (well at least that part of it, which wants to have good relations with the US) through UN resolutions.”

    This is no longer true! In the typical way that politics has to constantly surprise me, the State of California will hold a referendum later this year on legalising cannabis.

    They have accepted that

    A) the war on drugs isn’t winnable and
    B) they need some revenue and they need it now.

    If California vote yes, the rest of the world could well follow, imo.

  50. Colin – No I’m not sure it was Sweden, I’m afraid I just can’t find a link to the documentary I watched. (I tried for ages once when Laszlo asked.)

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