Today’s Times has a new YouGov poll of Labour party members and registered supporters (so members, registered trade unionists and £3 supporters – the same group who were able to vote in the Labour leadership election). Full tabs are here.

65% thought Jeremy Corbyn was doing well as leader, 34% badly as leader. Less promisingly, only 46% think it’s likely Labour will win the next election under Corbyn and only 38% think it’s likely he will ever be PM. Labour party members think Corbyn is doing well and expect him to lose. This apparent contradiction is easily resolved: 56% of Labour members think parties should say what they believe, even if it’s unpopular and loses elections, in comparison 32% think they should compromise in order to put foward policies that allow it to win an election and put policies into action.

Looking forward there is little appetite amongst Labour members for a change of leader: 57% think Corbyn should remain leader and fight the next election, 20% think he should hand over the leadership to someone else at some later point during the Parliament, 18% think he should go now.

There’s a sharp division between those who voted Corbyn and the minority who didn’t – 86% who voted Corbyn think he’s doing well, 66% who didn’t vote Corbyn think he’s doing badly. 82% of people who voted Corbyn think he should stay till the election, 43% who voted differently think he should stand down now. The vast majority of people who voted for Corbyn think he is doing well and think he should stay on, at least for now; there is no sign at all of buyer’s remorse amongst Corbyn’s voters. Equally, Labour party members who opposed Corbyn in the leadership election continue to oppose him, there is little sign of them rallying round their new leader. The Labour party remains divided.

It’s quite hard to judge whether these figures are good or bad. Surveys of party members are quite rare, most of the time they only happen in the middle of a leadership election when there is no incumbent leader whose ratings we can compare. There were no polls, for example, of Labour party members when Ed Miliband had been in the job for a few months that we can compare to see if David Miliband supporters had rallied round the leader or all still wanted Ed to resign.

79% think the shadow cabinet is divided, but Corbyn’s opponents are much more widely blamed for this than Corbyn himself – 54% think the fault is mostly his opponents’, 19% Corbyn and his allies, 25% both equally. On balance, there is support amongst the Labour selectorate for mandatory re-selection of MPs – 39% think MPs should be automatically reselected unless they’ve failed badly or are very unpopular, 52% think all MPs should face a full reselection anyway.

Finally YouGov asked about two specific policy issues facing Labour. On Europe the party membership is clear: 80% would vote for Britain to stay in the EU and 62% think Jeremy Corbyn should actively campaign in favour of EU membership. On Syria Labour party members divide two-to-one against airstrikes and three-to-one against the use of British ground forces in Iraq or Syria. 48% of Labour members think Corbyn should oppose the RAF taking part in airstrikes against ISIS, only 25% think he should support them.

160 Responses to “YouGov poll of Labour party members”

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  1. It has been something of a mystery, for some little while, why tax receipts have not kept pace with the recovery and increased employment. The OBR seem to have now decided that the tax will come in but that there is a time lag in the system. This would seem to be logical, especially with business profits on a rising trend and incomes from the self employed starting to pick up. The OBR could still actually be behind the curve on this and the figures may well get even better than they expect.

    Osborne has probably had a fair idea that the OBR would show improved figures and planned accordingly but he couldn’t show his hand until the figures were official. He would almost certainly have offered considerable transition relief from the tax credit cuts in order to appease his own party back benchers but this plan was upset by the house of lords. He now does not want to give the HOL anything they can mess about with so scrapping the changes is far easier. The views of the Labour party in the commons have been of little relevance.

    Mrs May has been quiet throughout. I think she has known for some time that barring a sudden change in economic circumstances, the police budget was safe.

  2. @ Amber Star
    I’m tempted to say that as HM Opposition it is McDonnell’s job to play politics. Or to put it another way, it is important for the functioning of representative parliamentary democracy that the public understands the driving force behind particular policies and comes to an opinion on the relative merits of the different rationales offered by Lab and Con for leaving tax credits intact.

    In one sense JM’s promise doesn’t matter much: the heavy lifting in terms of winning the argument about the specifics of a policy has to be done in advance of the U-turn and post hoc gloating probably doesn’t gain much. But this doesn’t alter the fact that Labour can’t afford to allow GO to convince the public that his wriggle room is a consequence of his good economic management. That’s not playing politics with tax credits. That’s a much broader argument about what constitutes good economic management and the effects of cuts in spending power.

  3. hm very interesting as ever.

  4. @Amber Star

    “Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, actually wrote to George Osborne & promised not to play politics providing GO completely abandoned cuts to tax credits. That’s why I was a lot less surprised than the media when GO retained TCs in full, rather than tinkering with the tapers or rates at which they’re paid.”

    Except for the timing, tax credit cuts haven’t been abandoned in full. Without the detail that will only emerge in later years, we cannot be confident that they have been abandoned even in part in the longer term.

    The can has merely been kicked down the road until universal credit comes into place in a couple of years time – to achieve the same £12bn annual savings as planned previously by 2020. At that point, they will not be the entire focus of attention within a much wider raft of changes. There is the potential to hide more amongst all the complexity, and would you expect Osborne not to use that opportunity.

    The revised timing is not all to the Government’s benefit, as others here have pointed out. Firstly, the impact will be much closer to the general election. Secondly, there is a far wider cohort of people affected than with narrow changes such as the bedroom tax and they will be aware of how the overall changes affect them, and it is hard to see those cuts as reflecting badly on anyone other than Osborne. Thirdly, there is the potential of a much greater reaction if people consider that what they were told in 2015 would not now happen has after all still come to pass.

  5. @Neil A

    “Perhaps the answer to “what happened to austerity” is that “the beancounters have re-checked the numbers and austerity worked better/quicker than they expected”?


    “There appears to be complete faith here that the OBR are utterly incompetent (or possibly corrupt) and that their new estimates are definitely wrong.”

    On the question of competence or at least believability, rather than taking everything at face value, shouldn’t we start by judging the bean counters on their forecasts of “the deficit” (or rather a deficit that is just one of many but the relevant one at question, that is the PSBR). It hasn’t quite worked out as expected in 2010, has it.

  6. “Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to his MPs to say he cannot support the prime minister’s proposals for air strikes against IS targets in Syria.”


    “The shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn has delivered the clearest indication yet that he is likely to support military action in Syria.
    In an interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg he said the arguments put in favour of action were “compelling”. There was a very strong case for us playing “our full part” he said.”


  7. “The shadow cabinet would meet again on Monday”


    Should be a fun meeting.

  8. On past precedents, not following the whip on military action is a resigning matter for front-benchers – Rushanara Ali had to give up her education brief after voting against air strikes in Iraq (the forgotten vote).

    To me it looks like anything other than a free vote this time is now unsustainable for Labour – whip against (or for a wrecking amendment, as with the previous Syria vote) and there would surely be high-profile resignations; whipping for is surely impossible when Corbyn is himself so strongly against, and has brought others who have never, ever voted for military action like Diane Abbott into the shadow cabinet too.

    Some will say letting MPs vote with their ‘consciences’ on things like this is great, the ‘new politics’ in action. But what it will actually be indicative of is a shadow cabinet that can’t agree a policy on something as important as whether to carry out airstrikes or not. How can the public be expected to put their trust in that?

  9. Also, should be said this is unlikely to be one-off. Shadow cab. that can’t agree on things = lots of free votes, abstentions and one-line whip votes.

  10. @Sine Nomine

    “As I actually live in the Oldham West & Royton Constituency I can vouch that if the Labour Party put a chimp with a red rose attached and wearing clogs they would almost certainly win the seat.”

    How does this chime with your later comment that “anything can happen in by-elections”? Actually, if you look at the old Oldham West constituency before the boundaries were redrawn in 1997 to include neighbouring Royton, it was quite good territory for the Tories. They regularly polled 35-45% of the vote and actually won the seat in a by-election in 1968. A chimp with a blue rosette, obviously.

    It was only after 1997 that the Tory vote, as it did generally in the North, imploded and they started running a very poor second, sometimes third. As the party of government, enjoying a post election triumph honeymoon and revelling in Corbyn’s misfortunes, they ought to be pushing Labour quite hard next Thursday. The current national opinion polls suggest so too.

    They won’t of course because of their electoral weakness in the North of England and if Labour lose it will be to UKIP and not the Tories. In the good old days of two party politics I would have fancied the Tories on Thursday but I suspect they will come a very poor third with a derisory vote.

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