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. CMJ,

    That’s truly ridiculous, as it’s an AV election (suppose not everyone uses all their preferences but really how many people are first preferencing Liz Kendall and nobody else?)

  2. I don’t think Corbyn will win. Labour will surely come to its senses.

    His financial adviser is Richard Murphy! JC plans to instruct the BoE to print “helicopter money” for “infrastructure investment”.

    Corbyn would have a major row with Carney on his hands & crisis at the Central Bank. Who would be his Chancellor ?-Dianne Abbott.

    I don’t actually think he would be able to assemble a Shadow Cabinet. Labour would really be in crisis.

    Not going to happen-calm down dears.

  3. @CMJ

    If Liz K pulls out that would harm Cooper and Burnham as they would not be able to take advantage of her second preference votes.

    As things stand it appears the JC could top the poll on first preference votes but really struggle to obtain any meaningful second preference votes (apart ironically from Burnham supporters which would not count if AB and JC reach the final round). Liz leaving would not alter this picture.

  4. End of the day Labour and its ideas that came to a head in 1945 were new and attacked once upon a time. Truth is the public started to fear the unions – for me the simple answer to that is cooperative competitors owned by the staff on services like rail lines.

    Its why I don’t greatly rate Cobyrn and his ilk; they are single minded and based on the politics of history and not the politics of the future. But its a good time to go left – the Tories are more or less the New Labour party; its one of the things that frustrates me about the right in Labour, especially in their refusal to support Miliband – end of the day we all know incumbent parties get an advantage, why would people change government from one centre right party to another centre right party with faces they don’t particularly know or particularly trust.

    The Tories get to look principled just by being anti Labour whilst New Labour look unprincipled and wanting to rule for the sake of ruling. A part of this is that New Labour folk are fantastic at attacking the Left wing of the party but utterly incompetent at saying why their ideas are correct (Why? Because their ideas are fashioned for elections, not actual pragmatism or ideology).

    Theres also the small detail that New Labour ideas led to an over-reliance on the services sector. Which is still a bit of an issue and the public have reverted to the politics of ideology as a consequence in my opinion.

  5. Colin
    His financial adviser is Richard Murphy! JC plans to instruct the BoE to print “helicopter money” for “infrastructure investment”.

    As a number of economists have pointed out, helicopter money is functionally identical to running a deficit and practicing QE. While I suspect you don’t like that either, it’s hardly considered controversial in mainstream economics.

  6. It isn’t at all identical FUNTYPIPPIN.

    QE-or more correctly, the Asset Purchase Facility of the BoE involves the purchase of tradeable & redeemable instruments-ie Dated Gilts. These have been, are, and will be repaid by the Treasury at their redemption dates.

    Helicopter money involves sunk spending-giving it away.

    The former is an excercise in temporary liquidity enhancement.

    The latter is an excercise in monetising state debt; financing state spending-the BoE is not permitted to do this.

    By the way running a deficit is something else entirely-it is a fiscal policy involving borrowing to finance spending.

  7. @” (Why? Because their ideas are fashioned for elections, not actual pragmatism or ideology).”

    Ah the purism of the lost cause. The virtuous cloak of eternal opposition.

    The marches & the banners. :-)

  8. Colin

    You do know that helicoptering money is what Milton Friedman advocated, right?


    He coined the phrase certainly-and explained how it would generate inflation. ( he cited it in the context of severe deflation-which we haven’t got).

    In 2006, Mugabe actually did it-and proved Friedman right.

  10. To many Corbyn supporters he would certainly win the 2020 election because he would take votes from the Greens( possible. Only 8 Tory seats had More Green votes than the difference between Labour and the Tories), SNP(Maybe but probably not enough to regain many seats) and UKIP(much less likely in my opinion). Others don’t care if he can win the election but at least he will fully oppose the government( A viewpoint I can’t understand but is shown in the You Gov Poll.)They also believe Corbyn’s immigration and Defence policies will not be an hindrance to him at all which does stretch belief somewhat. So I cant see many if any changing their mind at the last minute. So if the poll is reasonably accurate the only way he would be defeated is on second preferences.

  11. I remain surprised by the number of commentators – and Labour MPs – who keep referring to ‘the scale of the Labour defeat’ as if it was massive and pretty well unprecedented. It was nothing of the sort. Yes – the polls were wrong and Labour ended up lagging the Tories by 98 seats. However, that margin owes a great deal to two factors not directly related to the Con/Lab battle – the loss of 27 LibDem seats to the Tories and the loss of 40 Labour seats to the SNP.The Tory lead in the popular vote – 6.6% – was smaller than any of those achieved by Thatcher & Major in the 1979 – 1997 period – and lower than that achieved by Cameron in 2010. It was still a clear win but ,for Heaven sake, surely a sense of historical perspective is needed.It was a very disappointing – even poor – result but it was not defeat on the scale of 1983 or 1987. Indeed in England it was a better result than 1992. Had it not been for the debacle in Scotland the GB Tory lead would have been cut to circa 5%. Labour certainly faces a great challenge but some people are getting carried away and judgement still appears affected in the aftermath of the shock of defeat.


    Just to remind you that Milton Friedman also advised Pinochet on economic matters in Chile, where his ideas made GO’s “austerity” programme look like a birthday party and where I understand state helicopters were used to distribute a somewhat different commodity-human beings.

  13. Good morning all from a chilly Mount Florida.

    No matter who Labour choose to be their next leader they are going to be in opposition for the next 5 so they have 5 years to get the party united and on track.

    That said…With the EU referendum looming and the inevitable splits in the Tory party surfacing as we get closer to the vote Labour can seize the initiative and exploit the cracks.

    Labour is in a mess at the moment but it’s early days in the new parliament, one which so far has seen the Tories either defeated or backtrack on 4 key votes.

    What we are seeing in the Labour party at the moment will be the Tories in 2017.

  14. Colin

    Indeed, I know all that which makes wonder why the “centrist” Tory party are pursuing an economic policy to the right of Friedman.

  15. “‘Speak to the people in a language they understand'”

    John Prescott.

    :-) :-) :-) :-)

  16. I think the cracks in the Labour Party will get worse before they get better. A corbyn victory would quite possibly see the right moving parties, setting up a new party or even quitting politics while many of Corbyn more vocal supporters will go if he doesn’t win( and some more would go as soon as he has to compromise on something to prevent a mass rebellion). If Corbyn becomes leader but is removed in a Coup anytime before the next election then a full on party split would be the most likely outcome.

  17. The real helicopter money as a theory came with the rational expectations hypothesis in the early 1980s. 20 odd years later some got Nobel prize. It doesn’t make it right. However, JC’s proposal is not this. Yet he is still wrong. The trouble of infrastructural investment (even if it is financed from real money) is that it creates inflation. You want infrastructure tied to economic policies, and JC offered none.

    @ Colin

    Yes, military dictatorship helps true monetarist policy.

  18. MrNameless – “That’s truly ridiculous, as it’s an AV election (suppose not everyone uses all their preferences but really how many people are first preferencing Liz Kendall and nobody else?)”

    The press tend to focus on who wins the first round, regardless of who eventually wins based on AV.

    That is what plagued Ed Miliband – the fact that his brother won the first round and he only won though second preferences.

    Whoever wins the leadership will be forever plagued by “Corbyn was Labour’s real choice”. That will get endlessly repeated for the next five years.

    There was a reason that Blair asked Brown to step aside when he was standing for leadership, even though he could easily have defeated his colleague. It was because he wanted to win clearly across all the electoral colleges – and he did, the members, the MPs and the unions all put him first. It made it difficult for the press and others to portray him as foisted on an unwilling Labour party when the evidence of his leadership election showed they had eagerly chosen him.

    If I was Lab now, I’d be trying to get everyone to pile behind one candidate who could defeat Corbyn to try to win this on the first round.

  19. There is no way they could find two candidates to withdraw. It certainly couldn’t be Liz Kendal as unity candidate. She is very unpopular online amount the majority of the other 3 supporters. Could be Yvette more than Andy because then it would appear toe a gender problem. Anyway such a idea would more likely increase Corbyn’s support( I would say an 80% chance of him winning now) than decrease it.

  20. I have not participated in the recent ‘Corbyn’ discussion, but it is all very interesting.

    I make only one observation: a vote gained by Labour from UKIP, Greens or the Lib Dems is less valuable than a vote gained from the Tories. It could be argued that a vote gained from the SNP is barely one gained at all, as they might well participate with Labour in government.

    So for Labour to win in 2020, it is much more ‘efficient’ to win the votes of those who presently vote Tory, than the votes of anyone else.

    This is underlined by my view that people generally don’t like the Tories – they are still the ‘nasty’ party, and they have some very odd characters indeed amongst their MPs.

    I’m not sure the discussion is helped by constantly referencing Blair. A successful Labour Party simply needs a centre/centre-left stance with some thoughtful coherent and plausible policies combined with an attractive and positive presentation.

    Simple really.

  21. @Millie

    Interesting that Rupert Murdoch seems to be allying with Tom Watson.

  22. Wood
    Very interesting link last night to the Scientific American article about leaders being judged on appearance. I made similar points about why Ed Miliband was unelectable as soon as he became leader. This wasn’t a popular view at the time.

    It’s obviously not ideal that leaders are judged on appearance unless there is some still unproved link between leadership ability and appearance. One way to minimise the problem would be for the parties and media to place less emphasis on the leader and more on other senior spokesmen. The Daily Politics did do this in the run up to the last GE.

  23. “The real helicopter money as a theory came with the rational expectations hypothesis in the early 1980s.”

    Wrong. You can find the idea in David Hume, over 200 years before the 1980s. Rational expectations is also older than that (it goes back to the work of Muth in the 1960s) and it is logically independent of the idea of using helicopter money at the zero-lower-bound.

    Friedman’s advice to Pinochet consisted of one sole meeting. He was not a fan of Pinochet’s Guevara-style political methods.

  24. As for Corbyn, all we can say is that he leads at all stages in the one proper poll we have. That’s not enough evidence to form a judgment, but I do think he will have been helped rather than hurt by Blair saying that Corbyn, and only Corbyn, is beyond the pale. Similarly, Blair’s intervention hurts Burnham, by making it clear that he’s acceptable to the Blairite wing of the party.

    The way that the Labour hirearchy has become so structurally powerful helped the Blairites and the Brownites (whose differences are almost entirely personal rather than ideological) a lot from 1983-2015, and could now really bite both groups in the posterior. If the left of the Labour party gets the leadership, I don’t see them declining in influence any time soon, and the right/centre members would find themselves in the same dilemma that the left faced in the post-Foot period: go against their principles and stay, or fight back and risk plunging the party into crisis.

  25. At least Labour are still a ‘broad church’. UKIP’s approach seems to be that any minor deviation from Farage’s view means expulsion.

  26. This is interesting & shows perhaps why Liz Kendall is wasting her time urging policies with wider appeal.

    Numbers 3 & 8 are particularly illuminating.


  27. So for Labour to win in 2020, it is much more ‘efficient’ to win the votes of those who presently vote Tory, than the votes of anyone else.

    The most efficient way for Labour to win the 2020 GE is not to appeal to Conservatives, but the 15,700,000 who didn’t vote.

    Which ever party can successfully get a decent chunk of this massive army will do very well indeed.

  28. I think for another candidate to challenge JC, they would be much better to talk human, and stop talking as if they are addressing the media and the Westminster village. It would also help if they offered a better vision, and not use fluffy sound bites.

    This negative campaigning against JC is entirely counter-productive. The success of him in the campign so far is based on him doing well, and also the other performing badly. Dragging ex-PMs out and has-been Ministers just won’t work.

  29. I’m reminded of the May election in Scotland. Once an idea has come, most normal ways of stopping it only fuel the fire.

    It’s Corbyn’s election to lose, and at the very least he has exposed the limitations of Burnham and Cooper.

  30. If Peter Mandelson was still around the top echelons of the Labour Party you could see a cunning plan being hatched here….

    None of the available candidates is up to the job so engineer a Corbyn victory. When things go badly engineer a vote of confidence to get rid of him. That leaves the field open for a short leadership electionto be fought between between Chukka Umunna and Dan jarvis who wuld be persuaded to stand for the good of the party.

  31. Firstly, I didn’t vote Labour any more and I doubt if I would vote for Jeremy Corbyn. However, I beiieve that he is the best of the four candidates on offer in the current Labour leadership elections and if he wins good luck to him.

    It ill becomes the media to throw virtual vitriol at Corbyn rather than to criticise him on his merits. Still less should the other Labour leaderrship contenders threaten to “pick up the ball” if they lose to Corbyn and to refuse to serve in his cabinet, to call for an immediate re-run of the election or even to leaave the Labour Party.. Such candidates are not worth voting for.

    Labour does not need pale imitations of Blair, with all his Iraq baggage and other failings. It need a leader with innovative policies that will make Britain more prosperous and which will in particular transfer wealth from the disgustingly rich to ordinary people. As the three post-Blairite can didates in the Labour leadership election manifestly lack to skills and ability to deliver on this, Jeremy Corbyn is the only one left for those entitled to vote in that election to support.

  32. It was always clear that if Corbyn got on the ballot he would come first in 1st preferences and very possibly win. Labour seem to suffer from hubris the only explanation for the Labour MPs that signed up for Corbyn, so they ‘could have a debate’ – I very rarely agree with John McTernan but in this case his robust comments are correct.

    There are so many politically motivated people signing up to support Corbyn, £3 buys you a vote in the leadership election. SNP MPs including Salmond have come out in support of Corbyn how many of the 110K SNP members are signing up to vote. There is a GreensForCorbyn group on line and of course the trade unionists are organising their voters for Corbyn. Meanwhile the people that Labour need to win back are on their holidays and not paying all that much attention.

    Now, I very much agree with Corbyn’s policies but it is also clear to me that he won’t be able to lead the parliamentary party. Less than 35 MPs support him as leader and only 48MPs rebelled against the Harman leadership and voted against the welfare bill – so his core support amongst MPs is 48.

    So, when Corbyn orders his troops to vote against: the benefit cap, Trident, restricting child benefit will they comply?

    The reason Corbyn will not command the support of the PLP is the MPs honestly believe they cannot win on Corbyn’s policy platform. And although I could say that Corbyn’s policy platform won in Scotland, that was with a very united party.

    The best thing for Labour now is probably for Corbyn to wthdraw. It would be a short term complete embarrassment but would be long forgotten once the new leader is in place.

  33. I’m obviously out of synch with everyone on here. I loved the BBC political sit com set on the campaign buses.

    Corbyn can communicate clearly. He has a clear set of principles. The other three are anodyne. No wonder he is ahead. The debacle around the vote on the welfare bill has only confirmed the impression among members that for the next three years at least there should be someone who is not going to become ‘Tory-lite’ if they are going to retain those voters who did come out for them in 2015. The lesson from the Lib Dem collapse and the collapse of Labour in Scotland is that allying yourself too closely to Conservative policies and positions is political suicide nowadays for those perceived as being of the left. And when all is said and done that is what Labour and those who vote for it purport to be… of the left.

  34. Corbyn thinks the BoE should print money to be used for investment?

    While Osbourne thinks that the money should just line the bank vaults at RBS and Lloyds


    I wonder which idea is more benifical to economic growth?

    I’m a Lib Dem but this guy doesn’t sound that bad at all.

  35. @John Smith

    I look forward to an ironic laugh when Osborne nicks that policy.

  36. Gosh I didn’t expect the polls to become interesting again so quickly. Two points.

    1. Someone on UKPR said previously that “the opposition doesn’t win elections – governments lose them”. There’s a lot of truth in that and we should bear it in mind with all this Labour leadership election brouhaha going on.

    2. It’s kind of funny that the same thing is happening right now in the USA (Trump) on the other side of the political spectrum, but still with the opposition party.

  37. @Hawthorn

    credit where credit’s due, he’s somewhat pragmatic if nothing else

  38. @COUPER2802

    Sounds to me you are worried that some who voted SNP will go back to Labour if Corbyn is elected leader.

  39. The Monk,

    Getting rid of a Labour leader is not impossible, but much harder than it would have to be worth a gamble. However, I agree that a Corbyn victory would be good for the right of the Labour party in the long-run. Chuka might have seen that 2020 would be his best opportunity.

  40. Bill Patrick

    I doubt Chukka would be leader, even if there aren’t any skeletons in his closet.

    The problem is that shallow people think he is like Obama because of his appearance, when in reality he seems closer to Romney.

  41. @LIZH

    Yes I am. I am torn because I think Corbyn is by far the best and he and SNP would work great together in opposition because they have the same policies. But I worry it would set back the cause of Scottish Independence because if Scots thought that Corbyn will win in 2020 they might give Labour and the UK another chance.

    My preferred winner for the indy cause is Liz Kendall.

  42. Couper2802 – “it is also clear to me that he won’t be able to lead the parliamentary party. Less than 35 MPs support him as leader and only 48MPs rebelled against the Harman leadership and voted against the welfare bill – so his core support amongst MPs is 48.”

    Well according to wiki, Corbyn rebelled against the Labour govt 25% of the time, so he can hardly complain if his troops rebel against him.

    We could actually see a return to 18th century politics where instead of Labour MPs towing the party (Corbyn) line, they go with what their constituents want, and coalesce around unofficial leaders.

    Short-term it would be great for the Conservatives, long term it might prove revolutionary if members of other parties start to feel they too should just go with their consciences and constituents’ wishes and rebel against leaders…

  43. @COUPER2802
    “The best thing for Labour now is probably for Corbyn to wthdraw. It would be a short term complete embarrassment but would be long forgotten once the new leader is in place.”
    “I worry it would set back the cause of Scottish Independence”

    Thank you for being honest in your second post. I presume you meant to say the best thing for SNP and not Labour in your first post.


    The problem is people see him as having been part of Eds team and rather suspiciously always stepped away from the firing line. Hes too London centric in his outlook, Milibands campaign was as well.

  45. @LIZH

    It depends do you think

    1. Corbyn can avoid a split in the Party?

    2. Labour can win in 2020 with on a Corbyn policy platform?

  46. @candy
    “Short-term it would be great for the Conservatives, long term it might prove revolutionary if members of other parties start to feel they too should just go with their consciences and constituents’ wishes and rebel against leaders…”

    There’s also the danger, for the Conservatives, of complacency in the face of weak opposition. If the government isn’t properly held to account by a strong opposition party then it might slip up and start making mistakes.

  47. Fraser

    I have rarely been impressed with his broadcast interviews. He does have a good tailor though.

    On the Blairites: I am finding their previous fulminating against “machine politics” a little synthetic now!

  48. @COUPER2802

    The Blairites won’t split the party because they don’t want to go down the route of the SDP as that would finish them off completely. And if they make the elected leader’s life difficult while in opposition the will be voted out in 2020. So either way they will lose.

    Labour can win on a Corbyn policy platform as I think he will bring back a lot of disillusioned people back to voting again.

  49. @Candy

    In the 18th century they didn’t have 24 hour news. After a few months of being portrayed as hopelessly divided the Labour Party would be back at 1980s levels of support. Best hope for a LibDem revival though.

  50. @the monk

    “Best hope for a LibDem revival though.”

    One can hope… I was disappointed Norman Lamb lost the leadership election though.

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