The full tables for the Labour leadership poll are now up on YouGov’s website here (for members), here (for Trade Unionists) and here (as a nice summary). There are a couple of other notable findings.

1) How perceptions of the candidates have changed during the campaign. Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott are all perceived by party members as being more left wing that they were in July. In July 30% of members saw Ed Miliband as centrist (22%) or right of centre (8%), that has now dropped to 21%. In contrast to the other four candidates, David Miliband is seen as increasingly right wing – in July 33% saw him as centrist and 19% as right of centre. That has now risen to 36% centrist and 26% right of centre.

2) Party members and trade Unionists still see David Miliband as the leader more likely to win the next election and as making the better Prime Minister. Despite the shift in voting intentions, amongst members David leads Ed by 55% to 25% as likely to lead Labour to victory, 45% to 28% on making best PM, and 44% to 21% on being an effective leader of the opposition. Ed Miliband still leads his brother on being likeable and sharing members political views. Amongst trade unionists David Milibands leads are smaller, but the pattern is the same. This implies many Labour members and trade unionists are voting for the candidate whose views they approve of, rather than the one they think has the best chance of winning the next election.

3) Labour’s future strategy. 51% of Labour members think the New Labour strategy is wholly (5%) or largely (46%) right and should be retained. 47% think it is largely (36%) or wholly (11%) wrong and should be abandoned. In regard to the coalition’s planned cuts, 25% of Labour party members think the party should oppose them on principle, and 56% think they should accept the principle, but oppose their scale or timing as damaging to the country. Only 17% think Labour should accept the scale of cuts and offer alternate cuts when they oppose specific coalition savings. An insignificant 1% think they should support the coalition cuts wholesale.

4) YouGov’s regular poll for the Sunday Times also asked the general public who they think would make a better Labour leader if they had to choose between David and Ed Miliband. 30% backed David, 16% Ed, but the majority (54%) said don’t know – a reminder that the two men still have a relatively low profile amongst the general public. (Not, it has to be said, that this is necessarily a bad thing. Leaders of the opposition do rapidly become known to the public, and having a blank canvas when it comes to public perception is better than having a negative image).

76 Responses to “More from YouGov’s Labour leadership poll”

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  1. 50.66% EM to 49.33% DM based on projecting a 50-50 even break amongst MP’s and MEP’s.

    Change that figure a little to 55-45 in favour of DM and the result (and narrowness of it) is reversed.

    It really is Benn Vs Healey all over again


  2. 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.

  3. Only a couple of actual primary elections of individual members have been held.

    As opposed to this opinion poll (and LFF voodoo poll).

    All won comfortably by DM on first preference.

  4. I’ve just posted a version of this on the previous thread but it fits better here:

    There isn’t much movement from July 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.

    With regard to point 2, I wonder how much of this is members just repeating the common media perception, rather than their own considered opinion.


    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

  5. Just posted this on the other thread


    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-)

  6. @Roger Mexico

    Your question form the previous thread:

    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.

  7. Anthony,

    Thats some pretty good polling and some sensible questions. I wonder who selected them.

  8. The poll shows a broadly even split in the Party between those who like the New Labour aspect, and those who don’t like it.

    Maybe this is storing up some short to medium trouble, as unless a new leader treads a fine line carefully. I predict some storming before the norming begins!

  9. Gary K,

    The polling is not as bad as it looks. I might regard DM as more electible.. Labour’s broad direction as the right one… but just think EM is more likeable. Likewise someone who is voting DM might regard Brown’s 2-3 years as a bit off course, so might say the direction needs altered. The questions are very good and on first glance i agree they appear to read as you suggest. I think if one was to dig a little deeper it would not be so clear cut. The most positive news for a DM fan is that 56% by and large support cuts “on principle” Reading that i can see why Ed Balls stood no chance.

  10. Roger,

    Ta for your answer on the other thread. i am inclined to agree.

  11. For those interested- live texting from the TUC hustings

    h ttp://

    and on live Video streaming from the BBC

    h ttp://

  12. @Roger

    Your comment from the other thread:

    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. </i?

    Yes- the fashionable candidate to say (openly) you are voting for (its a secret ballot remember) is EM- especially if your CLP activists or UNION sponsors are pro ED.

    IHMO 50-50 is a overestimate of EM second preferences ;-)

  13. Rob Sheffield

    I’m not a great supporter of New Labour, but I actually think, as an outsider, you’re being too apocalyptic. I suspect the vast majority of Labour members believe that there is a useful legacy from New Labour, but some policies were wrong or now outdated and need to be changed.

    The balance between these views may vary, but people aren’t going to go to war over 45%/55% versus 55%/45%. Even in the Labour Party small differences don’t get that narcissistic!

    If there were vast numbers of die-hard New Labourites, determined to carry on its policies, it might cause problems. But they only make up 5% of the membership according to these figures. Cynics like me would say that this was because New Labour never stood for much beyond winning elections anyway. :twisted:

  14. @Roger Mexico

    I was quoting the YG survey from this weekend (see AW’s intro) they weren’t my own numbers :-)


    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.

    I don’t know whether the 51% of current labour members who identify as New Labourites (as polled in this survey) are ‘die hard’ as you suggest!

    But I do think- having had experience of the Labour party for three decades- that ideologues who feel they are entitled to win take defeat very badly.

  15. Regarding Labour’s future strategy, here is the wording of the question from the TU Members survey:

    Tony Blair has said recently that Labour should not ‘move a millimetre’ from his New Labour approach to politics
    and government. Do you think Mr Blair is…

    Therefore the question was not wholly about New Labour policies, it was pretty much slanted to ask – do you agree with Tony Blair?

    This simply risks splitting people between those who continue to approve of TB & those would wait for a different elevator rather than get in the same one as him. I’d have liked to see the question without it mentioning TB.

  16. again frmatting wrong

    Your comment from the other thread:

    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.

    Yes- the fashionable candidate to say (openly) you are voting for (its a secret ballot remember) is EM- especially if your CLP activists or UNION sponsors are pro ED.

    IHMO 50-50 is a overestimate of EM second preferences ;-)

  17. Amber,

    Yes it was a silly question wasnt it. Ed M must take the blame for it – his team paid for it and comissioned it.

  18. Anthony,

    “This implies many Labour members and trade unionists are voting for the candidate whose views they approve of, rather than the one they think has the best chance of winning the next election.”

    That seems to be the case, but couldn’t lots of them be judging their chosen candidate’s chance of winning the next election to be a close second-best? In that situation, even *these* voters might be giving more weight in their decision-making process to the electibility criterion than to the approval-of-views criterion.

  19. @ Éoin

    Yes it was a silly question wasnt it. Ed M must take the blame for it – his team paid for it and comissioned it.
    It seems his team were hoping for the ‘bin it’ answer then. 8-)

  20. Rob

    I got my figures from there as well. The question was:

    Tony Blair has said recently that Labour should not ‘move a millimetre’ from his New Labour approach to politics and government. Do you think Mr Blair is…

    And the possible responses:

    Wholly right: Labour cannot win if it moves away from the New Labour approach 5%

    Largely right: some changes are needed, but the party should generally retain the New labour approach 46%

    Largely wrong: some New Labour ideas should be retained but most of them should be abandoned 36 %
    Wholly wrong: the party should abandon the New Labour approach completely 11%

    Don’t know 2%

    I think your right/wrong dichotomy is a result of the way the question was asked.

  21. Eoin,

    I agree the best news going forward is that the party is not in denial about spending cuts, as some in the Coalition have incorrectly stated.

    Yes the depth and speed, in addition to the balance of tax rises vs cuts will be the battleground this Parliament I think.

    It up in the air I would suggest, but neither side can take the Electorate for granted.

  22. Amber,

    Strategy wise, his timing of it was perfect. That poll came out 24 hours after the pincer movement by Blair & Mandy. In strategic terms, it was probably the best time to strike. In the end it was unneeded for, I think EM overestimated his opponents. Funny in life when we do that.

  23. GaryK,

    You slightly misread my post but the fault is probably mine :)

  24. @Roger Mexico

    Nope- as I said in a previous post on this thread and the previous thread: 51% believe it was right on everything or the correct starting point from which to move on. The latter being my position- firmly ensconced in that 51% majority.

    Three of the leadership candidates just took explicitly one of these two positions at the TUC hustings debate. Namely- defend our record because no one else is going to (least of all the far left) ;-)

    Conversely 47% either want to (36%) abandon most of it or (11%) ideologically want to trash it completely. These two positions reflect that of several posters on here over the summer ;-)

    As I also said further up, my long experience of the LP is that ideologues believe they have an entitlement to win and take it very badly when they don’t.

    As Amber points out elsewhere the question was loaded to ‘NuLab/ Blair’ for-or-agin’? Loaded or what. Yet still a majority in favour.

  25. The TB question is certainly a dog whistle, especially if the order was that one before voting intention – I expect you know Anthony..

  26. Howard-

    In terms of dog whistles for internal labour movemnet polls:

    for “New Labour” read “Tory Bliar” and vice versa

  27. The Labour hustings at the TUC just ended on BBC live video streaming.

    Once again the principal impressions I am left with are twofold:

    1) That the divisions between the four blokes are miniscule compared to their collective differences with Cameron-Clegg which are HUGE;

    2) That we are going to have such a strong front bench team come October :-)

  28. It is too late for DM to claw back any losses to EM. Yesterday he said the poll was a wake up call but if he was really the right leader for labour he should not have needed a wake up call. He put too much tim eand effort into ‘politics of presentation’ he cared more about endorsements from big wigs than support from the people. In effect, he blew it and that is that.

    His supporters by working so hard to silence a debate gave the appearance that they had no conviction in their case. When some of the more balanced personalities of his team tried to put the case forward it was too late. DM had had since june. He placed greater stock in has beens than the future. He cared more about the upper echelons than the nododies.

    He arrogantly assumed that he would not have to detail policy in a manner similar to Cameron. But the LAbour Party 2010 are not as hunger as blues in 2005. Their supporters are drained of faith, they want answers. Whilst DC was trusted to deliver reds were all out of trust.

    His basic inability to gauge the needs of the party base, the respond to their demands for meat on the bones or his arrogance not fully grasp that the failings of Labour began pre-2007 have cost him hi sone and only chance to leader the Labour party.

    he has intimated that he will quit UK politics. Baroness Ashton’s job is probably a little less safe with every day that passes.

  29. Eoin

    Given that the NEC ( ?) appoints the Shadow Cabinet, do they all have to say in advance whether they are “available”

  30. @ Éoin

    I don’t think DM will leave UK politics if Ed wins. I’m sure I recently read that is no longer (or never was) his position.

    IMO, there will be family celebrations in the Miliband household, whichever of the brothers win. 8-)

  31. @ Colin

    Labour MPs must put their name forward for election; it is the PLP who votes on this, the NEC don’t choose the shadow cabinet. 8-)

  32. Amber-thanks.

  33. @ Anybody who doesn’t already know

    PLP = Parliamentary Labour Party i.e. all the Labour MPs who currently have a seat in parliament. 8-)

  34. @Eoin

    Labour’s chances of victory will not be rested on the issues of public spending and services.

    YES, public services will probably be poorer than in 2010, however, what will need repairing will only be patch work.

    Unlike most Labour members I am not so pessimistic about unemployment staying 3million + beyond 2015. I think unemployment will probably be about 2 million come 2015 and again, the welfare to work offices will probably just need some patch work.

    The real issue will be about crime, pension reform, welfare reform and europe. Labour will need to give something to excite Tory voters for voting Labour which will mean more than just economics but some small c solutions to crime, welfare and europe.

    David Milliband should have tried and presented these policies in his leadership bid. Call it a distraction but he would have faired better by making them points than no points.

    Labour is doomed to lose the next election with Ed. Labour might think he’s the change we need but as far as the public are concered, he isn’t.

  35. Colin,

    The only advancing that is odne is by those who want to fathom if they have the necessary support to go for one of the positions. Smithson/Guido both intimated that Brown was touting himself for international development secretary (shadow of course). But there does not appear to be any substantiation to this.


    Here is an exchange ebtween DM and Jon Sopel yesterday

    Presenter Jon Sopel then asked him whether it would be “difficult” to serve under Ed, to which David replied, after a pause:

    I don’t think…I don’t know is the truth

  36. Thanks Eoin

    I find it a strange idea that a Labour PM cannot choose his own team.

    I hadn’t fully appreciated the implications of that before……….what about re-shuffles though?

  37. Andrew,

    You make some good points. I have yet to reach an opinion of Ed M. He did not get my vote I can assure you. But I have an open mind on him.


    Better to ask Amber than one. They have to seek annual re-election but only if contested I think- I hope Amber corrects me.

  38. @ Colin

    I hadn’t fully appreciated the implications of that before……….what about re-shuffles though?
    Shadow cabinet positions are subject to election every 2 years.

    A popular leader will be listened to by the PLP regarding who gets elected to which position.

    The leader can reshuffle once he is elected PM. Win before you are entitled to choose your own cabinet.

  39. The most significant aspect of the poll is surely the trend in party members/trade unionists’ perception of the candidates on a left/right scale.

    A larger proportion than before now see DM as on the right. But why this change? What has happened since the previous poll in July?

    The answer is obvious: Peter Mandelson’s intervention and the launch of Tony Blair’s book.

    It is just possible that they have, between them, blown the chances of their favoured candidate – and with it Labour’s election chances.

  40. Robin,

    Yes- partly true.

    i also think a lot of thanks show go to Ed Balls and Andy burnahm. whether the Miliband’s liked it or not the first two guys made this contest about ideas, policy, future direction.

    The politics of presentation of messrs Blair, Mandy and DM did not triumph.

  41. Just as an aside, how about this for a symmetry of opposing views – with thanks to the LA Times

    ‘Democratic respondents favored (sic) granting citizenship (to children of illegal immigrants born in the US)
    by 62% to 31%, while Republican and independent respondents oppose it by 67% to 27% and 51% to 42%,’

    The LA Times comments
    ‘The electoral impact of the issue seems limited.’

    We had a debate on tribal politics here recently. Do we have such a demarcation on a subject one would not think was identifiable as tribal (e.g. drugs legalisation)?

  42. @ Éoin

    Presenter Jon Sopel then asked him whether it would be “difficult” to serve under Ed, to which David replied, after a pause:

    I don’t think…I don’t know is the truth
    What could he say? Yes, no problem, I’ll stay – then Ed’s team trump him by saying, Ed will leave if he loses, so if you want both brothers vote Ed!

    If David said he’d leave, the media would put a ‘sore loser’ spin on it.

    I am sure whatever David decides on this subject (if Ed wins), it will be for good reasons that do him credit. 8-)

  43. Amber,

    I take your point :) I am not sure but I explained that already.

  44. Presumably the Labour leadership contenders have been repositioning their images leftwards now that they are interested in getting votes from within the part rather than from all voters. And it appears they can do it – which is interesting.

    With the possible exception of Diane Abbot, all the leadership candidates would have been seen as on the right of the party before 1979.

    I cannot say that I see much difference between the four mail Labour leadership candidates. But one minor, perhaps not so minor, point that seems to have gone into the background is that that picture of David MIliband with a banana would be a problem if he became leader an the Tories chose to exploit it. Perhaps a bit like the one of David Cameron in Bullingdon Club uniform.

    P.S. I assume most of the votes have already been cast.

  45. It has been difficult for David Miliband. If you take him at face value, his commitment at the start of the campaign was to revolutionise community activism, rebuild the party, and involve more people in the policy process. To then come out with shades and modifications to current policy (as the other candidates have done) would be seen as pre-empting that process.
    As an expirienced operator, and most prominent member of the group, he has been conscious to only make pronouncements that could in future be backed collectively.

    To an extent the spectators of this peice of political theatre have been projecting their own expectations onto the respective candidates. Hopes for something new have been projected onto the younger least ‘formed’ of the candidates, while the disappointments and controversies of the past are being projected onto David.

    MPs imo have been least affected by this spectacle and made a rational judgement on the basis of a longer and closer examination of ability and potential. They may of course change their minds.

  46. It’s the year 2015, Ed Milliband has become Labour leader, he’s proposed a radical tax policy, more state intervention and less individual choice and a far more liberal policy on immigration and time. Labour gets 262 seats, Conservative 290, Lib Dems 25 and Others 23. Labour has lost it!!! Coalition of Liberals and Conservatives has been formed again.

    Therefore, I say for 2015..RIP Labour Party. Here Lies Labour Party. Its tragic sucide will outlive it’s achievements.

  47. Who cares?

    The normal person not a a member says why so long?

    Australia sacked the PM (and Head of Labor) and replaced with anew one inside a weekend. This is just farcical and boring.

    There are 2 jobs; one Head of the Parliamentary Party and so PM (or Opposition leader) and so rightly only voted by Mps as they only know the skills and demands.

    The 2nd is Head of the Party, requiring difference skills.

    Everyone knew Brown would lose the last election; Labor may well have been in power if it had been left to the MPs to sack the Parliamentary Head.

  48. Chandler your ability to predict the future is amazing. Prove it by winning the lottery then I might be interested in your comments.

    Wish fulfilment does not replace analysis.

  49. @Jack

    You make me sound like a Coalition or conservative supporter. I’m actually a fully paid up member of the Labour Party, however, I see more sense and I am more rational about the outcome.

    Ed’s novelty will wear off. As I stated in many many posts Ed Milliband will lose on trust factor. He was for the iraq war, no agaisnt, he was for tutition fees, now agaisnt. He was for foundation hospitals, now agaisnt.

    He can say what he likes that we need to leave the new labour comfort zone but he was part of the architect of New Labour. He loses simply on trust factor.

    Also, the trade unions plans to cause mass protest has already angered the general public and he’s going to be attacked by the press and tories for berrying deep into the trade unions pockets for his campaign and for having the most support.

    Finally, policies. The deficit will be reduced, unemployment will gradually fall and the economy will see slow signs of growth. To which, by then the public will not swallow his idea of higher taxes and more spending.

  50. This leadership election is more boring than Jo Brand;s last TV appearance.
    Apparently Cuba is going to lay off 500 000 state employees in order to promote growth in the private sector

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