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. @ Hireton

    Try to resist shoe-horning Scottish independence into every conversation. It’ll be difficult for you but you can do it! :-) Even the SNP have moved on & are now citing major events or 60%/40% polling as being the potential ‘triggers’.

  2. Hireton

    The extra wriggle room is all very convenient.

    Should the OBR stand for Osborne’s Budget Rescue?

  3. @ AMBER

    It’s the “at”or “with” thing. Boris is brilliant at the self depricating response. People like him, and most people do like him, because he does not seem to take himself too seriously and takes criticism in good part. He is also very (you can add a lot more verys) clever.

  4. @ RMJ1

    We’ll see how clever Boris really is when he faces off against Osborne for the leadership – assuming David Cameron does stand down.

  5. Boris is in the happy position of being able to stand for the leadership without losing any credibility if he fails to win. It’s not in his nature to be disparaging about the other candidates and he doesn’t need to be, although he will certainly point out very politely, where he might not entirely agree with them. He can thus slip seamlessly in behind whoever beats him and remain a major figure. Osborne, on the other hand, absolutely has to win and there is just a small chance that might cause a miss step.

  6. @hawthorn

    Yes the OBR’s reputation is as much on the line as Osborne’s but there are always events to explain away any apparent misforecasting.


    What struck me most by this poll was the revelation that over 20% of all those entitled to vote in a Labour leadership election now did not vote Labour in the 2015 general election. Ed Miliband’s legacy to the party really was to open it up to entryism.

    It’s not much of a revelation. It comes from a rather odd poll of the Labour ‘selectorate’ around the time the result was announced[1] (odd that they didn’t start earlier and use it as a prediction):

    That showed that while only 2% of those didn’t vote at all (and some of them may have been too young)[2], not all voted Labour. Most did (81%), but this varied from 91% of members to 76% of affiliates to only 60% of the £3 registrations. There was a scattering of support for other Parties (including presumably some tactical Lib Dem votes), but the big alternative was indeed the Greens – 3%, 12% and 24% for the three groups.

    So, whether you regard it as entryism or not, there weren’t that many actual members who had voted elsewhere. The (ex-?)Greens in the other groups may have joined since, but their votes didn’t have any effect on who won the leadership – the lead was too big for that.

    Whether the new members are in the right places or not is another matter, as is what they will do and how long they will stay. But the majority of the new members will be long-term Labour supporters either returning or deciding to become more involved.

    The myth about an increase in a Party’s membership being driven by those new to political involvement or even voting seems to happen every time there is a rise (for example with UKIP in 2012). There will always be some people like that, but most will be have already interested in politics and possibly a member of their ‘new’ or another Party in the past.

    [1] The poll has been “weighted to the final result”, both between the make-up by group (members/affiliates/£3) and candidate voted for. It’s possible that some of the other targets have been superseded (the membership may have become younger and more female over the campaign), but other weighting may correct a bit for this and broad conclusions will be valid. The raw sample doesn’t seem that much out except that Burnham supporters were under-represented, which suggests they are more likely to be male, Northern, C2DEs all groups normally under-sampled in YouGov.

    [2] There is the usual problem that YouGov panelists aren’t typical of the population at large, in that they are much more likely to vote and generally take an interest in things. But the same would be true about the sort of people likely to take part in the Labour leadership vote, so the non-voters probably aren’t as under-represented as they would be in a sample for other purposes.

    “One thing for certain is that Osborne shot Kezia Dugdale’s “restore tax credits” fox stone dead. The SNP will be very pleased”

    They will indeed be very pleased. In fact Ozzie has just pummeled Scottish Labour’s main manifesto commitment in one announcement .and I wont be surprised if the next Scottish VI for Holyrood will have the Scottish Tories closing the gap on Kez & Co.

  9. Interesting to see the Labour Party’s response to the Tory U-turn on tax credits today. Do you praise them for implementing a policy that you believe is fair and you had been arguing for yourself, or do you criticise the Conservatives for not sticking to their principles?

  10. @Polltroll

    Why not both?

  11. Labour gave a commitment that they would not attempt to make political capital out of Osborne doing a 180 & abandoning the cuts to tax credits.

  12. Or neither then…

  13. @Amber

    And Osborne gave a commitment to tax credit cuts after his party committed to not cutting it. There were clear means of attack without striking at the U Turn itself. Heck why was the Chancellor trying to cut this when he clearly bad more money to spend?

    You know I get what the shadow chancellor was trying to do with Mao. Might have worked if he’d dropped the quote and maybe been clearer that he was suggesting it was more at home with the Chancellors policies than Labours. However; I don’t see this on anyone but The Guardians frontpage; the main issue is I have no idea what Labours line is – what’s their view? Least Balls would come out and say on the face their happy but they need to look into the details.

    Where was Labour all day? As we saw just from the last budget we should not overreact to the headline but wait on the full details to be known.

    The biggest issue here is Osborne is comfortable to raise taxes and spend without worrying about the signal it sends. Quite clear the Tories are confident Labour will not sort itself out soon and so he can breathe a bit more without worrying about Labour being able to talk openly about tax and spend.

  14. I think the message is that Osborne wants to take the Tories into the centre ground that he believes Labour is vacating, and which will be his chosen battlefield for the Tory succession fight.

    He’s put all his apples in the OBR’s basket, but so long as they haven’t screwed up it’s a good gambit I think.

    Certainly from a personal point of view its exactly what I want the Tories to be doing. Just as any flirtation I might have had with a New New Labour party under Kendall, or even Cooper, disappears over the horizon, the Tories remove some of the main reasons I might have felt it hard not to vote for them again.

    Maybe I am a rare creature, but if not then it could be very shrewd politics.

  15. *hard to vote for them.

  16. I don’t see how a policy landgrab from Labour can be interpreted as a sign that the Tories are complacent about Labour’s ability to oppose and frustrate them. Quite the opposite, you would have thought.

  17. @Roger M

    Thanks for that. So 40% of the £3 “registered Labour supporters” in the leadership election didn’t vote for the party in the 2015 election and almost none of this could have been down to the 2% of non-voters within the selectorate as a whole.

    “If that’s what you call entryism…” Yes, it is, on a grand scale.

    I accept that it didn’t affect the final result, but regardless I still find it appalling that this sort of thing could have been allowed to come about.

  18. NEIL A

    I am sure your not alone by any means. It was a very political budget designed to reinforce the Tory position in the middle ground with a view to his own and his parties fortunes in the future as I posted earlier. Not what I wanted mind, but I know I will never get what i want in a government.

  19. On the Autumn Statement, those who rush to judgement on the substance before digesting the detail of the IFS analysis are always going to make premature comments. A 24 hour plus period of reflection is needed.

    So we’re left with commenting on the initial public perception and the polling impact (which AW will no doubt say is all he really wants here, but nonetheless…). All I will say is that whatever hope McDonnell might have had in getting reported on the broadcast media a few of the (good, IMO) points of substance he started to make to unpick the smoke and mirrors were utterly scuppered by the failed stunt he tried to pull at the end. Don’t Labour Treasury people have enough political nous to know by now to avoid making “jokes” , whether departing into opposition or speaking from opposition.

  20. “The Labour Party remains divided.”

    No it doesn’t. It is divided on specific isssues, and on the choice of leader – between 67% who supported Corbyn in the leadership selection and 33% who didn’t, and similar proportions now. It is in the character of the Labour Party, especially under Jeremy’s tutelage, to encourage and debate “divisions” on major issues. However in its contribution to governance of this country, for example, on tax credits for the poorest families and on police numbers and funding, it is proving united and highly effective.

  21. PHIL
    Do you think the, justified, Commons response to McDonnell’s Little Red Book joke has any resonance in the electorate? I thought that, though cr-ppy, it rather lent colour to his demand that the withdrawal of the reduction in tax credits should now be scrutinised for the effects of continued reduction of benefits under universal credits, and continued tax benefits to the very rich. And to the contiued failure to reduce the deficit.

  22. Having slept on the review, a few things spring to mind.

    The hit on low paid workers is intact, due to housing benefit cuts and universal credit cuts. The difference is that it will happen closer to the election (unless Osborne U-turns again). Perhaps Osborne expects to have his feet under the table before this becomes apparent?

    The cut in LA block grant will transfer further pressure on to “protected” services such as the NHS and the police.

    The NHS will need new money before 2020.

    Even the OBR seem to admit there is uncertainty on the £27bn, so the sums probably won’t add up anyway, even if Osborne has abolished boom and bust.

    Goodness knows what the changes to buy to let, combined with the further taxpayer exposure to the housing market will lead to.

  23. Good morning all from near to Trafalgar Square. I have to say the resident pigeons were in fine voice this morning although the stench coming from them was extremely nauseating.


    When I first heard about McDonnell’s Little Red Book incident I thought surely he’s not going to quote from Iain Dales “little red book” because that would surely had made some very uncomfortable moments for the Labour party.

    In the end it was a harmless quote from the great man himself. ;-)

  24. The £23 billion windfall that has arrived courtesy of the OBR implies that the extent of any Austerity required was significantly exaggerated throughout the last Parliament and that the electorate was misled – wilfully or otherwise – at the 2015 election. Surely that in itself should be an issue for Labour to make hay with?

  25. Graham

    What “puzzles” me is that a body that has tended to be over optimistic (the October deficit for example) has suddenly decided that it may be too pessimistic.

    We shall see though.

  26. Well if they’ve got a windfall, surely they don’t need storage taxes any more. Dunno what the delay is all about…

    Given the u turns, and all this talk of Labour division, will there be polling on Tory indecision and flip-flopping? And division re: Europe etc.?

  27. Creating the OBR is looking to be a political masterstroke by GO. The honest answer to what the economic outlook will be in4 years time is that no one knows. Predicting growth at levels consistent with long term trends is easy to defend and GO can blame the OBR if the numbers don’t add up.

    All in all this is politically a very astute long term plan. There may be hiccups along the way but the major short term issues have been finessed without leaving any obvious hostages to fortune. There probably will be issues related to the introduction of UC but that is a long way down the line and increases to rhe NMW will have kicked in before the changes start to bite.

  28. Main headline in the Mail:

    “Whatever happened to Austerity?”

  29. @Graham

    The windfall is not due to conditions being better but is largely due to the OBR changing is modelling and assuming that tax revenues will be much higher in the future.

    Quite how they arrived at that assumption when HMRC is going to be cut back, losing tax collectors, is anyone’s guess.

  30. @Graham

    But then again I suppose ‘guess’ is the right word as it often seems as though economic forecasting is just done by asking a question and then rolling a decision dice…

  31. The Monk

    Masterstroke or not – Labour and other critics can now reasonably say that Osborne cannot be relied upon to tell the truth. ‘Dodgy’ Osborne might have a ring to it.

  32. “But then again I suppose ‘guess’ is the right word as it often seems as though economic forecasting is just done by asking a question and then rolling a decision dice…”


    Sometimes they roll it more than once…

  33. “Whatever happened to Austerity?”

    Labour, not in government but in power?

    I’m guessing that’s how Labour members feel; & that’s why they continue to support Jeremy Corbyn. Had Labour not gone into full anti-austerity opposition, would the Mail be carrying a headline like that?

    George Osborne may be characterising it as a bid for the vacated centre ground but as long as Labour are opposing in a way that actually leads to policy changes which benefit working & vulnerable people then many Labour members will be content. The ‘mantra’ from people who oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is that you can’t help people unless you are in government. The Autumn Statement shows that opposition & protest, when carried out with conviction, can sometimes get the job done.

  34. Amber
    Good point. For those genuinely interested in improving things according to their own views, it shouldn’t matter whether they are actually in power so long as they have enough influence to change things in the way they want.

    The Greens are a case in point. Their chance of power is negligible but they have influenced all the other parties to have some kind of Green policy.

    Of course, a lot of politicians are careerists who enjoy wielding power. To that extent Corbyn and his cronies are a breath of fresh air, even if i don’t agree with much of what they say.

  35. @ John Pilgrim
    “….it rather lent colour to his demand that the withdrawal of the reduction in tax credits should now be scrutinised for the effects of continued reduction of benefits under universal credits, and continued tax benefits to the very rich. And to the contiued failure to reduce the deficit.”

    What the Little Red Book quote in fact did was to ensure that those points of substance in that McDonnell made in response to the budget were underreported, with the main soundbites instead being around the quote itself.

    That was McDonnell’s main chance, and it has quickly passed. Note the parliamentary timing that distract further reporting as soon as possible as the Government schedules the Syria announcement the very next day after the Autumn Statement. Tomorrow’s headlines will have shifted on to Syria.

    Beyond that, I don’t think that it is clever of McDonnell to play up to the most extreme stereotype his opponents wrongly want to paint of him. I suspect that Osborne’s staff will be looking for plenty of other quotes out of the Little Red Book to try and hang on him and Corbyn now.

  36. Osborne has ducked the pain of achieving the destruction of the welfare state and local government demanded by Conservatives. While everyone is saying he has been rescued by the OBR finding a few billion down the back of the sofa, there are 2 big long term problems arising.

    Firstly the OBR will reverse its views on tax receipts and interest charges at some point, unless he is very lucky. Then what?

    Secondly postponing the pain of reducing the non-health state back to 1945 levels will impact on the public, and its opinion, much closer to the next election. Regardless of the present onslaught on the Labour Party, which will have worn off by then, whatever happens, governments lose elections, and Osborne may just have set the Conservatives up for big difficulties in 2020.

    My present view is that the Conservatives will need to be very lucky to escape a pit of unpopularity at some point towards the end of the decade. As too often with the “political classes” thinking is much too short term.

  37. @Carfew

    “Sometimes they roll it more than once…”

    ‘Will tax receipts go up…? No… Right okay, best two out of three, make it scientific’

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

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

    I don’t know nearly enough about economics or accountancy to judge.

    Labour, with what was apparently a good leader in Miliband, fought a Tory party with no majority, that was cutting left right and centre and managed to go backwards in 2010.

    Now, with (I think most agree) a worse leader than Miliband, they’re fighting a Tory party with a majority, that is planning to increase spending on most of the headline grabbing areas that get votes.

    I would not be optimistic if I were a Labour member.

  40. AW: “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.”

    Careful Anthony – it does not necessarily follow that they expect Corbyn to lose; these respondents could simply expect that he will step down before the GE. Given his age and the barrage of criticism – some of it deserved, some not IMO – this is not an unreasonable expectation.

    On the subject of ‘£3 supporters’, could I point out that this was a minimum donation? I, for example, was/am a £20 supporter, as that was what I felt able to throw in. I mention this as the term ‘£3 supporter’ is often used to imply a lack of commitment, which in most cases isn’t fair.

    I’d agree that anyone who voted for another party (except maybe for clear tactical reasons) had no business to be taking part in the Labour leadership election. However, I would quibble with the term ‘entryism’ and particularly ‘mass entryism’. The term should apply only to Trot groups, and the number of Trots around these days pretty much precludes them doing a mass anything – doesn’t it?

  41. @ Neil A

    Now, with (I think most agree) a worse leader than Miliband, they’re fighting a Tory party with a majority, that is planning to increase spending on most of the headline grabbing areas that get votes.

    I would not be optimistic if I were a Labour member.

    I would not be optimistic, were I a Labour candidate who was hoping to be elected in 2020. However, as a Labour Party member, I’m optimistic because the government is, as you say, “planning to increase spending on most of the headline grabbing areas that get votes”, & these are mostly things on which I want money to be spent.

  42. @Amber

    Yes, point well made.

    However we get there, politically speaking, it’s always nice when the policies are right.

    Not sure everyone thinks like you though!

  43. Regarding OBR changes & ‘money down the back of the sofa’.

    Here’s an accepted theory about how the economy works albeit cut down to the ‘bones’ so it can be easily understood.

    An austerity budget takes spending power out of the economy & reduces employment causing a downward spiral until the economy adjusts to the new conditions. That downward spiral reduces VAT, PAYE & NIC, corporation tax etc. So, at the last Budget, the OBR were incorporating into the tax receipts figures, the immediate impact on the economy of the planned austerity cuts.

    The OBR would also have used a multiplier to estimate the knock-on effect of those cuts on the wider UK economy. And further reduced the tax take to account for that ‘knock on’ effect.

    Reducing the austerity cuts at the Autumn statement would have had the opposite effect on the economic model used by the OBR. i.e. Of course there was money ‘down the back of the sofa’; the (simple?) act of reducing austerity actually puts the money there!

  44. The problem for Labour is that there will be no political dividend for them unless they are given the credit for GO’s U-turn. He appears to be spinning it as ‘Thank to my economic discipline and persistence with Austerity the OBR have told me that there’s more money available than you working poor had any right to hope, so the axe will not have to fall after all (but don’t forget we still have to fix the roof…)

  45. This is OBR’s own explanation of the “back of the sofa”:-

    “The improvement in the underlying forecast since July (excluding the impact of the decisionby the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to reclassify housing associations1 in England to the public sector) is largely due to an improvement in expected revenues. This reflects higher expected receipts from income taxes, corporation tax and VAT – some of which result from modelling changes to our NICs and VAT deductions forecasts. But the improvement diminishes towards the end of the forecast as lower growth in wages and salaries weighs on income tax receipts in particular. Spending on debt interest is also lower in all years,
    reflecting a further fall in market interest rates. “

  46. @ Sorbus

    The problem for Labour is that there will be no political dividend for them unless they are given the credit for GO’s U-turn.

    Labour accepted that not getting a political dividend was ‘a price worth paying’. 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.

  47. ““Whatever happened to Austerity?””

    There hasn’t been any since 2012 – that’s why the Conservatives won the general election. We discussed this in the aftermath of May.

    Basically Labour formulated an anti-austerity line in 2010 – Balls gave a famous speech about it predicting certain outcomes. The economy started to deteriorate as predicted – and then in 2012 Osborne did what every good politician does – he reversed himself. Capital spending started to increase again for instance. The economy duly started to recover, but fatally Labour didn’t really change their line. So they kept talking about austerity, but voters were thinking “What austerity?”

    Labour has now doubled down on the austerity talk, and the voters will likely be even more bewildered. As long as the economy continues to grow and unemployment continues to fall, voters will be saying “Austerity, what austerity”.

    As for the tax credits – looks like Osborne has made a tactical pivot and is going to let the Universal Credit take the strain instead, especially as voters have decided they like the idea of the Universal Credit.

    I don’t think the next election will be fought on the economy at all, it will be fought on “who do you trust to keep you safe”.

  48. @Amber Star

    It was very good of McDonnell to promise not to make capital from a U-Turn. And I am sure it gave Osborne the political freedom to reverse the cut. McDonnell will I am sure feel as you do as the stopping the working poor from bearing the brunt of austerity is reward enough and the politics can wait.

  49. Candy
    ‘Labour has now doubled down on the austerity talk, and the voters will likely be even more bewildered. As long as the economy continues to grow and unemployment continues to fall, voters will be saying “Austerity, what austerity”.’

    I made a similar point some time ago and was attacked by several posters on here. There’s also the fact that anyone over about 60 can remember power cuts, 3-day week etc, so will wonder what the fuss is about. I’m not trying to do a ‘Four Yorkshiremen’, but it’s a fact.

  50. Anyone over about fifty can remember all that I assure you and I feel far less saguine about events than you do.

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