A week or so ago Stephen Bush at the New Statesman wrote a piece about how “private polling” from a couple of the Labour leadership campaigns was showing Jeremy Corbyn ahead. At the time I was all set to write a “private polling is nothing special, and there’s no reason to believe it above the published stuff” post, except there wasn’t actually any published stuff. Now there is, and it’s in line with the private polling Stephen was apparently shown.

AYouGov poll of Labour party members (including £3 supporters and trade unionists who have registered to vote) in tomorrow’s Times has first round preferences are CORBYN 43%, BURNHAM 26%, COOPER 20%, KENDALL 11%. As might be expected, Corbyn’s large lead on the first round is chipped away by reallocations of the second preferences of Kendall and Cooper voters in the second and third rounds, but it’s not enough – Corbyn still narrowly beats Burnham by 53% to 47% in the final round.

In the deputy race Tom Watson has a clear lead with 42% to Stella Creasy on 21%, Caroline Flint on 17%, Ben Bradshaw on 11% and Angela Eagle on 10%. Watson comfortably wins once second preferences are reallocated.

So Jeremy Corbyn, who only got onto the ballot by Labour MPs “lending” him votes to broaden the debate, looks like he has serious chance of winning. The Labour leadership race still has weeks to go so there is time for things to change. What I am pondering is how many Labour members were voting Corbyn in order to send a message about Labour staying true to its roots and principles rather than actually wanting him as leader, might they recoil at the thought of him actually winning? Or alternatively, might him being ahead add strength to his campaign now it looks like he could actually do it? We shall see…

255 Responses to “YouGov/Times polls show Jeremy Corbyn ahead in Labour leadership race”

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  1. @Crossbat11

    Bear in mind that those seeking to preserve many fiscal measures that the first term Blair government brought in, such as much enhanced financial support for those in low paid work through the tax/benefit system, are now considered to be on the left of the Labour Party.

  2. ANDY
    @Allan Christie – “If Jeremy Corbyn wins then he may win back some of the voters who swam off with the kippers”
    I doubt it. He’s in favour of immigration so the Kippers won’t move to him – it’s likely the opposite will happen and the Kippers will gain and become the #2 party

    I don’t think his views on immigration will make a lot of difference with the majority of working class voters. Corbyn is gaining traction on the back of his stance against austerity and I’m sure that will mitigate any ill feeling people have with him on the issue.

    The party is in a mess however I’ve said it before and will say it again…Too many people are writing Labour off far too early. Yes the party is done and dusted in Scotland for the next decade but they still have strong support in Wales and gained 11 seats in England back in May.

    When it come to the crux of it all, the Tories only managed to win more Lib/Dem votes than Labour. It’s not a tall order for Labour to turn it around although that might be easier said than done when looking at the leadership candidates.

  3. #CANDY

  4. “You’re right-out in the Big Rest of the Country, the spectacle of Labour’s Left & Right tearing chunks off each other-again-is not relevant to their daily lives.
    Those who think that it is are deluded.”


    Maybe, but you seem to like it though!!

    Most parties have their splits. Some even have MPs defecting!! Peeps may not know the detail, but if the press seize upon it then a divided-party meme may take root.

    At the moment it’s Corbyn, but once the EU referendum becomes the topic du jour…

  5. “There was a sitcom before the election (by the people who did Drop the Dead Donkey) set on the four main parties’ battle buses. It was dreadful.”


    Yes, but they prolly didn’t use Evelyn Waugh…

  6. It seems self-evident to me that Labour’s problem is not that it has too many members or too many MPs. Calls for people to leave the party therefore strike me as a mistake.

    I called the election for Burnham before the general election (in the event that Labour lost) and I still think he’s likely to squeak it, but the moderates do have to ask themselves why they are so bad at politics.

    How did they allow the party membership to become so hollowed out of their own supporters that Jeremy Corbyn is in a position to win the leadership? WTF was Harriet Harman, who after forty years in the Labour Party ought to have some understanding of how it thinks, playing at with the Welfare Bill vote? How has Tony Blair, who did after all lead the party to three electoral victories, allowed his reputation to become so tarnished that people are arguing persuasively that his intervention will help the Bennite candidate?

    And how in God’s name did the Blairites get stuck with Liz Kendall as their standard bearer? I’m not unhappy about that because she’s hopeless and I want them to lose, but honestly, it’s embarrassing. And she was the best of the Creagh/Hunt/Kendall troika.

  7. @Crosbatt11
    It would have been almost impossible for Labour to have lost in 1997 – even Michael Foot would have managed it. Blair inherited a 25% point lead from John Smith and his role in the victory is somewhat exaggerated. In many ways he and NewLabour misread the mood of the electorate in 1997 – there was a much greater desire to swing away from Thatcherism than he was offering or inclined to implement. When the reality showed itself as watered down Thatcherism with a human face exemplified by continued privatisation – disillusionment sank in quite early and was reflected in the collapse in both turnout and Labour’s absolute vote in 2001. Blair was centre-right rather than centre-left – much more in the mould of a Christian Democrat and eventually shifted yet further right with an aggressive foreign policy.

  8. I think it failed because it focused on battle buses and the air war, which isn’t in any way the most interesting or entertaining part of a political campaign:

    Having a shadow cabinet member come to give a speech and about three people turn up to the meeting, all of whom ask about things in no way related to their brief.

    The occasional nutter you encounter on the doorstep. Like the guy who fervently believed we’d have “Sharia law within ten years” so was voting Green.

    The single-issue members. I once got a tongue-lashing from someone because we used Tesco folders for voter ID (they’re the cheapest) and Tesco apparently do stuff in the West Bank.

    The incredibly clever publicity stunts that either nobody has the know-how to pull off, or which backfire horribly.

    Members getting you intro trouble on social media.

    There’s plenty of gold, if you wrote it right.

  9. Carfrew
    I’m having trouble following this thread. Are you saying Evelyn Waugh wrote ‘On the Buses’? No wonder it was so good. :-)

  10. The Blairites probably think they are being like Clinton or Obama, but instead they are coming across like Mitt Romney.

    Burnham has gone flaky in a way that Miliband used to under pressure. I still hope he wins though.

    They are gifting this one to Corbyn.

    Does anyone know Corbyn’s position on Europe? One concern of mine if a moderate pro-European won would be voters peeling off to UKIP during the Referendum campaign in the way that they did to the SNP during the Scottish Referendum campaign.

  11. MrNameless

    I thought it was quite funny, but I agree that it bore little relation to most real-life campaigning.

    It would have also been logistically impossible to slip in topical jokes filmed on the day without the battlebus setting.

  12. So now we need a YouGov vote intention poll by party comparing each of the Labour candidates as leader. That would be interesting. Wouldn’t you love to know who Ukip, LibDem and Green voters prefer of the 4 and if that would impact on their own (leaders’) support?

    My guess is Corbyn would surprise us yet again. British politics has got to be the most fragmented it’s been since the interwar years. Just when we thought it was all returning to form with an ‘old fashioned’ Tory majority, we are reminded that the rule book has been torn up and burned to a cinder!

  13. @ Hawthorn,

    Corbyn’s ambivalent on Europe. He’s halfway between the classic Bennite Eurosceptic position and the modern Labour Europhile position. More Greece shenanigans or a Cameron renegotiation of labour rights could easily push him into the Better Off Out camp.

    I think he was one of the Maastricht rebels back in the day.

  14. @ Hawthorn

    He’s pro Europe and anti-EU (Commission).

    He was also pro public funded homeopathy because “it’s natural”. Yes, it’s dihydrogen monoxide. It may lose him my wife’s second preference vote.

    It’s worth reading the full write up of the poll. There are many caveats in it.

  15. @graham

    Nice to see someone agreeing with an argument I’ve been making for years, that Tony Blair was a Christian Democrat. Once you’ve understood this, a lot of his policy positions start making sense, and his primary focus was the Christian Democrat idea of social solidarity. This happened to coincide with social democratic views at the time, after a long period of Conservative disdain for social solidarity which amongst other things drove all the christian democrats out of the Conservative policy. It always amazes me that no-one seems to notice that Blair promoted all the tiny group of christian MPs in the Labour Party like Armstrong and Timms. His christian beliefs were never hidden and his catholic conversion was telegraphed long before it happened.

  16. Spearmint can type faster, and put it more eloquently.

  17. @ John Chanin,

    He didn’t promote Bryant, who was the chair of the Christian Socialist Movement.

    …clue might have been in the name, now that I think about it. ;)

  18. What evidence is there that the public would vote for a left leaning leader? History doesn’t favour a left leader.

  19. If the economy goes completely arse above head over the five years, who knows what will happen electorally?

  20. “Evelyn Waugh wrote ‘On the Buses’? No wonder it was so good. :-)”


    He did?? And to think I was only musing. Well, maybe he got the idea from the pantechnicon in Scoop…

  21. “The occasional nutter you encounter on the doorstep. Like the guy who fervently believed we’d have “Sharia law within ten years” so was voting Green.”


    Well on the plus side, he found a reason to vote Green…

  22. We also once found an SNP voter in Crookes, Sheffield. Had to break the bad news.

  23. YouGov tables now up.


    Note that Burnham only edges it by 3% over Cooper into the final round, after Kendall votes have transferred heavily to Cooper.

    I still think that whoever of Burnham and Cooper makes it into the final round will win (just), although it’s very unlikely now to be both of them. Cooper is much better value at 11/4 than Burnham is at 6/5.

  24. @ Laszlo,

    But you put in the fun bit about homeopathy!

    Still, I reckon that’s all right- the Tories can hardly attack him for it when his position is identical to Jeremy Hunt’s. (Is it something about Jeremies?)

    @ Hawthorn,

    It would be nice if the Labour Party had a plan for winning that didn’t rely on that, though.

    Although if Corbyn wins the leadership and then goes on to win the general election thanks to some apocalyptic political climate I will never stop laughing. Ever.

  25. Spearmint

    Ultimately, that is how the Tories did it and Labour before them.

    What do you expect with a politically disengaged electorate?

  26. A long way to go, but will Labour members go with their heart or hear? Labour elected a more left leaning leader and lost.

  27. Looking at this through a Blairite style political analysis, this should not be too surprising. A key part of the Blairite view is that parties follow historical forces such as globalisation. Therefore, you end up with politics following a similar pattern.

    In the late 1990s/early 2000s, social democratic parties in Europe and the Democrats moved towards the centre, going with the flow of globalisation (including the Democrats, Labour and SPD). The PS being the typically contrarian French exception. Blair was happy with this, as it chimed with his beliefs.

    After the 2007/8 crash, political forces start to fracture the centre, with pressure from the left. The parties either respond by moving somewhat to the left (Democrats, Miliband’s Labour), and/or their vote starts to splinter leftwards (SPD, Spanish Socialists, PASOK and the Labour Party).

    The forces that are damaging social democracy and boosting the harder left are very powerful and probably cannot be stopped. The same historical tide that swept towards Blair is now sweeping the other way now that globalisation is in crisis.

  28. Unfortunately, this is classic form in political parties. They move further to extremes when they lose, instead of towards the centre, because:

    a. They are left with only the hardcore members, who are delusionally convinced that their losses were caused by the mainstream party not being hardcore enough.

    b. They are left with only the hardcore MPs, who think the same way.

    The reality is a Corbyn win would be disastrous for Labour, leaving them only a GOTV 32% strategy, which has already failed. That’s not going to win back UKIP voters, and it’s not going to win back middle England or business. It’s just another Neil Kinnock.

    Bad for Labour, and bad for British politics. Cameron must be finding this hilarious.

  29. “The same historical tide that swept towards Blair is now sweeping the other way now that globalisation is in crisis”

    Really? The Eurozone is certainly in a bit of a mess because of property bubbles (Ireland and Spain), bloated public sectors (Portugal and Greece) and general inability to govern themselves (Italy) but otherwise the global economy in in reasonable shape after the shocks of 2008 and globalisation shows no signs of retreating.

    The Labour party didn’t elect EM because it had moved to the left – it elected him because of the electoral college. If DM had been elected there would have been no leftward lurch and likely a dfiferent outcome in 2015.

    If the Labour Party membership wants to commit hara kiri then there is not much that the rest of us can do about it but we do need a credible opposition in parliament and a combination of a Jeremy Corbyn led Labout Party and the SNP isn’t it.

  30. The Monk

    Admittedly the leadership candidates (other than Corbyn) are a pretty unimpressive bunch but does anyone seriously believe that Labour would be an alternative party of government under Corbyn?

    But did anyone see Corbyn as a likely winner a month ago? (Even Corbyn). Things can change fast and unlikely people can lead their Party almost by accident and become a success – look at Thatcher or even Cameron.

    It’s also worth pointing out that, although people are complaining about the lack of other candidates, there aren’t that many alternatives being put forward except on the grounds that they might be ‘the right sort of person’ such as Jarvis.

  31. The Monk

    I think the fact that the global economic crisis has been going for the best part of a decade is not good news for globalists.

    I am not a Corbyn supporter. The Eurozone is in a mess because of their stupid currency means that the normal economic mechanism that prevent those problems becoming crises is removed.

    This is on top of the global economic trade imbalances etc.

    I am pointing out that the centre ground is splintering into three segments.

    There is (1) tea party style wack-a-doo austerity policies from the establishment parties in Europe, (2) emotionalist nationalism and (3) grassroots leftism. I do not know which force would come out on top.

  32. Roger Mexico

    I admit that I under-estinmated to capacity for self-delusion within the Labour Party. That the Labour Party would select Jeremy Corbyn is surprising. That the country would elect a party that he led to government is inconceivable.

  33. I am old enough to remember the celebrations in Labour circles back in February 1975 when Thatcher ousted Heath. Many thought her to be far too right-wing and shrill to ever be able to win an election. Things turned out a bit differently!

  34. @ The Monk,

    Nigel Farage won a national election, and Corbyn is no less credible than Farage. And the Labour Party has institutional advantages Ukip doesn’t.

    Of course, the public see the European elections as something of a free kick; a general election is different and I think Corbyn would need some highly favourable circumstances to get him through the door. But it’s not inconceivable.

  35. Hawthorn

    The trouble is that I’ve heard it all before. In the 1970s it was the crisis of capitalism that was going to convince the elctorate that the left of the Labour Party was right all along and all it needed was a more socialist agenda. The result was 18 years of Tory governments. Fast forward 30 years and we seem to be in the same position again – substitute progressive for socialist and it’s deja vu all over again.

  36. The Monk

    I am not a Corbyn supporter.

    I would say that a lot of his policies such as having national investment bank are not exactly extremist but rather the sort of stuff that a heavyweight Labour moderate should be advocating.

  37. Spearmint – “WTF was Harriet Harman, who after forty years in the Labour Party ought to have some understanding of how it thinks, playing at with the Welfare Bill vote?”

    Well the following article gives a very reasonable explanation:


    It says something about the self-destructiveness and lack of understanding amongst Lab members that they immediately formed a circular firing squad – because attacking your own side really helps in their minds! The Conservatives must think all their Christmasses have come at once.

  38. THE MONK

    @” it’s deja vu all over again.”

    The spirit of Tony Benn must be clenching that ghostly pipe a little more firmly this morning .

    Heard Corbyn say in a tv interview this morning that he was against the “re-privatisation” of RBS :-)

  39. @ Candy,

    I understand her reasoning.

    I just don’t understand why she didn’t realise that in the context of the leadership election she was essentially signing on to the Corbyn campaign.

    I also don’t understand how she thought, given Labour’s recent success at communications, that this would possibly play out as “We opposed cuts!” to her base and Lab/SNP swing voters and “We support welfare caps!” to Lab/Tory swing voters, rather than as “We support cuts!” to her base and Lab/SNP swing voters and “We oppose welfare caps!” to Lab/Tory swing voters. You don’t do complicated parliamentary manoeuvres unless you are confident you can control how the public will perceive them. Labour has zero ability to control the message at the moment, and the Tories and the SNP are great at it. So Labour can’t afford ambiguity because it will always be interpreted against them.

    I’m not criticising the abstention. The Conservatives have a majority; how Labour votes is an irrelevance. I’m criticising the tactics, which were insane.

  40. The main impact of this will surely be to push/embolden Burnham and Cooper into more overtly leftish pronouncements and policy statements. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out (and who seems more sincere in those statements).

  41. @Spearmint

    I definitely agree with you that Lab, the party that invented spin, has become rubbish at communication.

    This whole thing has an awful car-crash aspect to it. You can’t look away and you can’t believe it’s happening. I don’t see how they can come back from this.

  42. Isn’t the lesson of the analysis of the GE poll failings that Labour’s key problem was enthusing the core vote and providing a clear alternative? There are large numbers of non-voting Labour supporters, and plenty of Green and UKIP voters out there who might switch to a populist left party. And the 29-30% core is still there and going nowhere (Scotland excepted). The challenge is how to frame that alternative.

    Viewed in that light, Corbyn might be just the right person.

  43. Candy -if by “this” you mean a Corbyn win, I don’t think that is by any means certain.

    Supposing this OP was wrong-or it causes a change in VI away from Corbyn-or both.

    Wouldn’t be the first time , as we on UKPR know.

  44. @ Robin,

    That was a problem, but they also lost voters to the Tories and it’s not clear the disenchanted lefty vote can ever be turned out reliably no matter how much enthusiasm you generate or how important the election (see the Scottish referendum turnout in Glasgow).

    Fundamentally Labour’s problem is that their vote is splintering off in all directions and chasing it in any one direction risks alienating the other flanks.

  45. You know according to that a fair few D Miliband supporters have moved to Cobyrn. The real issue is the right of the party have failed to make their case.

  46. Corbyn’s strength is that he is standing on the principles he believes in whereas the other candidates are to some extent espousing beliefs that they think will get them elected. Corbyn therefore speaks with passion whereas the others are being careful in what they say so as not to alienate some of their supporters and thus come across stiff and wooden.

  47. Nice line from Blair – “I’m back – as the younger generation”

    Given how long ago 1997 was, it’s unbelievable that Lab are going Really Archaic for Corbyn, the elderly gent.

    Have Labour become a small c conservative party (a sort of leftish version of UKIP). Hating everything about the present day and sure that if only they could turn back time to the long distant past, everything would be OK?

    And the Conservatives, becoming the party of the future. Good job no-one calls them Conservatives any more – “Tories” seems more funky and modern.

  48. @Candy
    “it’s unbelievable that Lab are going Really Archaic for Corbyn, the elderly gent.”

    Or maybe Labour voters are more modern because they are not ageist!

  49. @ Serene – of only Corbyn was a Kinnock. Sadly he is a Bennite that sunk the party for 17 years.

    @ Robin – “the core vote of 30% isn’t going anywhere”. Why on earth would you say that? Those on the right of Lab may now go to the LDs or not turn out to vote. More people might drift to UKIP as Corbyn is not right wing enough on the military (a key issue for many working people). Corbyn’s number’s on economic trust and “best PM” will most likely be worse than EMs. As the Cons tack to the centre ground vacated by Lab with more of their policies (like Living Wage and apprentice-ships, some left-leaning floaters will trust them more.

    Complacency, complacency! It’s all we’ve heard in the party since 2010 about how the LDs collapse would only go to Lab (they didn’t they largely went to UKIP), how the Cons vote share would go down (it didn’t it went up), how EM would be more attractive than Brown (he wasn’t he lost more seats). Over and over Lab leadership failed to take seriously that they have to persuade swing voters (who may happily vote Lab or happily vote Cons) that they should be trusted not simply expect it to fall into their lap.

    If Corbyn is elected leader there will be open warfare, the right may well split off, all the key questions will be ducked. We’ll sing “The Red Flag” with more passion than we’ve ever had at the end of the conference, but the voting public will have switched off. And the next leader will have an even bigger job and an even more left-wing party to contend with. Those considering voting for Corbyn need to read some labour history!!

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