Ian Warren of Electiondata had published a new YouGov poll of Labour party members. Overall, it looks as if Jeremy Corbyn’s suppport among the Labour membership is down a bit since last year… but that right now he’d likely be re-elected again. To some degree a fall in support among existing members has probably been mitigated by the gradual churn in membership as pre-Corbyn membership falls and newer, more pro-Corbyn members join. Back in August 2016, 53% of paid up Labour members thought Jeremy Corbyn was doing well, 45% badly. The latest figures are 51% well, 47% badly. The figures are not directly comparable because of changing membership (a substantial proportion of members joined post EU referendum and they were some of the most pro-Corbyn members). Nevertheless, the net effect is that Corbyn’s support really hasn’t fallen much.

If we go back and look at Corbyn’s historical ratings among party members the big drop appears to be at the time of the EU referendum and the attempted coup, but since then things have steadied. In Nov 2015 66% of Labour members thought Corbyn was doing well, by May 2016 that had risen to 72%. Straight after the EU referendum and Hilary Benn’s sacking it it fell to 51%, in July 2016 it stood at 55%, by August 2016 it stood at 53%, today it is back to 51%. Some of those ups and downs are because the polls were seeking to measure those Labour members entitled to take part in the election and there were back and forths about cut-off dates, but you can see the broad trend – a sharp fall, then a pretty steady position.

Neither has there been much change in attitudes towards Corbyn’s future. Opinion has moved a little against Corbyn fighting the general election and in favour of an organised transition. 44% of Labour members now think Corbyn should contest the general election (down from 47% last August, but up from 41% in June 2016), 14% think he should stand down at some time before the election (up from 6% in August). The proportion of members backing his immediate ousting has actually fallen, now just 36% (from 39% in August 2016 and 44% in June 2016)

If there was an election now, 52% of Labour members say they would definitely or probably vote for Corbyn in a fresh leadership election, 46% said they would probably or definitely not. To put this in context, when YouGov asked the same question in June 2016 50% of Labour members said they would probably or definitely vote for Jeremy Corbyn, 47% said they would probably vote against him.

In the event the leadership election that followed was not a close thing. By July 57% of Labour members were saying they’d probably vote Corbyn (40% probably would not) and Corbyn’s lead among full party members ended up being 18 percentage points. Of course, it may be that the 2016 leadership election could have panned out differently with a different anti-Corbyn candidate or a different strategy, but comparing these figures to the polls before last year’s leadership election does not suggest there has been any sea-change in Labour members’ support for Jeremy Corbyn.

So what, if anything, would change the mind of Labour members? Ian’s poll asked if Corbyn should stand down in various circumstances. A substantial majority (68%) of Labour members said he should go if Labour lose the general election. A majority (55%) also said he should go if he loses the support of Trade Union leaders, and 50% said he should go if he loses the support of the shadow cabinet.

The problem is these are theoretical questions. In practice people tend to see events through the prism of their existing support, so Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters will tend to explain away negative events and blame then on other people (that’s not intended as a comment about Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters in particular, but on human nature in general. It happens in all other political parties too). There’s a lovely example of this in Ian’s poll – asked who or what was most responsible for losing the Copeland by-election, 85% of those Labour members who voted for Owen Smith said Jeremy Corbyn. Very few Labour voters who voted for Jeremy Corbyn last year put any blame on him though – among Corbyn’s 2016 voters the main causes of the Copeland defeat were seen as the media (46%) and Tony Blair’s speech (35%). Only 14% blamed Jeremy Corbyn. Don’t imagine that all those hundreds of thousands of members who have supported Jeremy Corbyn, who have been enthused by him and brought into the party by him will easily be disuaded from supporting him.


384 Responses to “Election Data poll of Labour members”

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  1. Neil A,
    “Are you willing to put a tenner on “No Deal” being agreed by the time of Brexit”

    This is not a licensed gambling website.There may indeed be a deal, but not on the basis May has outlined as the position of the UK. i don’t believe her speech is aimed at the EU but at nudging the british pblic in the direction she wishs to lead them.

    Old English,
    “No 18 year old should be encouraged to leave home if they are dependent on taxpayer support to pay their rent.”

    But the solution to this is not to bar them from housing benefits but to reduce the costs of housing to an affordable level. Also saving on the benefits bill for older people too.

    Pete B,
    “For this voter and several others on this site, other factors were more important than economics.”
    I don’t think so (in general, obviously, I am sure you know your own mind). The polling evidence did not say this was the case, in fact the single message shared by both sides was voting for their perceived economic benefit. People have argued this is merely justification after the real decision, but there is no evidence to address that.

  2. Dave,
    “Given the existing large scale trade with the EU, I would expect a deal to continue it to be possible, unless interfered with by ideology.”

    It really doesnt get us too far to engage in pantomime exchanges when basically various people have opposed understandings of how Brexit will turn out. However, I will try to make this a little plainer.

    The leave camp keep arguing it is in everyones interest to keep trading, which is in general true.

    However, the EU is a protectionist zone of states with comparable levels of development and wealth, which allows them to trade equitably between themselves. To police this equity of exchange, the EU imposes many rules which prevent unfair advantage and also deliberately place outsiders at a disadvantage. The Uk has just announced that it repudiates those rules, and it therefore follows that the others will not allow the Uk to continue trading on that basis. The Uk has chosen to place itself outside the protectionist wall, not inside.

    Of course the Uk can make some sort of deal to be partway in. But in order to do so it has to accept the relevant rules. May has pretty much ruled out accepting the main rules, so there would seem little scope for trade to continue as now.

    The big threat I have always seen is not that trade will suddenly stop, but that the change of circumstances will place a permanent disdvantage on any firm based in the Uk trading into the EU. It is pretty obvious that such a firm will relocate to an EU country. Both from desire to maximise its profits, but also for fear of being put out of business by competitors who do get this advantage.

    A couple of pieces above suggest that ireland might benefit from this relocation, presumably because of the shared language which I am sure Americans in particular would find desireable. It is rather an irony if Brexit leads to a reversal of the fortunes of Ireland and England.

    The current case emerging against Britain for failing to collect proper taxes on Chinese imports is a case in point. The claim is that China has chosen to import through Britain, because its import inspection is lax and they are therefore able to circumvent taxes they should be paying. I am not suggesting the Uk connived in this (inefficiency is more likely), but clearly the Chinese spotted a gap and chose to trade through the Uk because of it. The EU will not permit the Uk to create such gaps now, and even more so will it not allow the Uk to do so if it formally leaves. A deal of the sort May envisages would amount to such a gap. The EU has far more to lose from allowing the Uk to do so than from simply falling back to WTO trade.

  3. WB

    No it is not. Being a “pauper” is still a kind of slavery. Being rich in any era must be better, and just because ‘Camus’ said it does not makebit gold.

  4. Interesting comment from IFS on the Budget:

    “The chancellor was right to raise National Insurance contributions for the self employed in his Budget, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says
    The rise will see millions of self-employed workers pay an average of £240 a year more, but ministers say those earning £16,250 or less will pay less.
    Philip Hammond’s move has been heavily criticised, but the IFS think tank said the current system needed reform.
    “It distorts decisions, creates complexity and is unfair,” it said.
    “A tax system which charges thousands of pounds more in tax for employees doing the same job as someone else needs reform,” the IFS said.”

  5. PETE B, i think many on here have done quiet well in life and I doubt many will become paupers. Not sure that could be said of the many who are already paupers who voted leave and I’d be very surprised if they’d be happy becoming even poorer.

  6. @Danny
    Protectionism is an ideology.

  7. More from MORI –

    “And thinking about the UK’s decision to leave the European Union after the referendum last year, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following?

    The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is doing a good job in representing Scotland’s interests in the process of the UK leaving the EU

    Agree 52% : Disagree 37%

    The Prime Minister Theresa May is doing a good job in representing Scotland’s interests in the process of the UK leaving the EU

    Agree 24% : Disagree 59%

    The Prime Minister Theresa May is doing a good job in representing the UK’s interests in the process of leaving the EU

    Agree 34% : Disagree 50%

    Once the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU finish, there should be another referendum across the UK to either accept or reject the deal

    Agree 52% : Disagree 40%

  8. OldNat

    Of the people wanting independence, do the figures change by much?

  9. Delighted to see that so many of the UKPR Conservative contingent are backing progressive redistribution over the complaints of the right-wing press.

    Personally, I agree that Hammond’s done broadly the right thing.

  10. ALAN CHRISTIE, your post 5:23 7th march.

    Actually it was COLIN who confided the debate to UKPR, I talked of the wider populace.

    Regarding proof. I’d always assumed it was those making the claim that showed their evidence, apologises if I am wrong.

  11. Also, and don’t often say this about a Tory budget, agree with SE paying more in NIC, particularly as it won’t hit those not earning that much…….though the question is would it be worth someone not earning more or is the extra not worth holding back what you earn?

  12. Regarding SE. I work in a factory and get holiday pay (sick pay up to 6 months, not that in 27 years I’ve used it). Does anyone know what the SE are entitled to?

  13. As so often, the MORI question about the local elections is potentially misleading, as it just asked about “parties”, and not about Independents – and I’m less than convinced that 78% of those polled are really 9-10 “certain to vote”!

    Still, FWIW, VIs are –

    SNP 46% : Con 19% : Lab 17% : Grn 8% : LD 6% : UKIP 3% : Oth 1%

    Possibly more closely aligned with general political attitudes than council votes, but the drop in the SCon lead over SLab is interesting.

    It might just indicate that a number of hard core SLab Unionists are prepared to vote Tory for distant places like Westminster to “stop the Nats” – they’re “damned if they’ll see a bloody Tory on the Cooncil!”

  14. Alan

    “Of the people wanting independence, do the figures change by much?”

    As you would expect- quite a lot! :-)

    The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is doing a good job in representing Scotland’s interests in the process of the UK leaving the EU

    Yes – Agree 85% : Disagree 9%
    No. – Agree 23% : Disagree 65%

    The Prime Minister Theresa May is doing a good job in representing Scotland’s interests in the process of the UK leaving the EU

    Yes – Agree 6% : Disagree 86%
    No. – Agree 41% : Disagree 34%

    The Prime Minister Theresa May is doing a good job in representing the UK’s interests in the process of leaving the EU

    Yes – Agree 12% : Disagree 70%
    No. – Agree 54% : Disagree 30%

    Once the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU finish, there should be another referendum across the UK to either accept or reject the deal

    Yes – Agree 71% : Disagree 22%
    No. – Agree 33% : Disagree 60%

    I’m not surprised that 6% more of Yessers see May as doing well in representing the UK’s interests, as opposed to Scotland’s. After all, we don’t the terms mixed up!

    However, that 13% of Noes see her as doing better at representing the UK than Scotland, was a little surprising.

  15. @oldnat and barbanazero in particular

    There is a very interesting post at Slugger’s suggesting that the “Orange card” and Brexit have revived a complacent nationalism.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2017/03/09/when-the-ace-of-trumps-became-the-two-unionism-and-the-diminishing-power-of-the-orange-card/

    “According to this narrative, any division within Unionism was a sign of weakness that could prove fatal. As political historian Graham Walker argues, unionist leaders worked hard to ensure that electoral politics in Northern Ireland became little more than a ‘straightforward struggle’ between Orange and Green….

    This approach, in the main, served unionism well for a considerable period. Somewhat ironically its effectiveness was undermined when a threat, of sorts, did emerge in the form of the civil rights movement. The demand for equality – for reform not revolution – generated significant divisions within unionism about how best to respond.

    For some, a positive response opened the possibility of a new stability in Northern ireland.”

    Though this is some fifty years ago, I remember some of this very well. I managed to attend many of the debates the Peoples Democracy held in Queen’s University. I remember also trying to explain to the members of the rugby club for which I played that the civil rights campaign was just that and it should be supported.
    The wing forward, big strapping man, ex-navy, told me plainly(one tends to remember such things): “If it comes to the bit, I’ll shoot you.”

    “For other unionists, however, any such conciliation was merely opening the door to the “enemies of Ulster” and should be strenuously opposed. In many respects, the descent into conflict helped to maintain a stronger degree of unionist unity than might otherwise have been the case – most unionist politicians were again united in their analysis of who the enemy was and how they ought to be fought….

    Catholics expected much from power-sharing between Sinn Féin and the DUP. In particular, they expected a recognition of, and respect for, their Irishness – something the DUP has seemingly failed to accept sufficiently.

    This has been reinforced by the party’s support for Brexit and the fears that this has generated within the nationalist community that it may, once again, create a hard border on the island. For many, this is an entirely unacceptable outcome.

    Indeed, whilst not necessarily lending itself to republican militancy, Brexit may yet prove to be the moment contemporary Unionism once again awakened a complacent nationalism. “

  16. @Pete – “Regarding SE. I work in a factory and get holiday pay (sick pay up to 6 months, not that in 27 years I’ve used it). Does anyone know what the SE are entitled to?”

    This really gets to the heart of the matter, and is one reason why many of those on here supporting Hammond’s move might end up being a little bemused by the reaction.

    In dry, technocratic terms, Hammond is right, in that there are now few differences between self employed and employee state benefits. The last really major benefit the self employed didn’t get was a decent state pension, and this has now been resolved, so the tax change seems fair.

    But to the millions of self employed, they don’t get holiday pay or sick pay, they don’t get redundancy pay or employee pension contributions.

    With exception of sick pay, which is a state benefit, none of these are paid for by the state, so the argument about higher NI seems fair. However, the self employed will feel hard done by, as employees tend not to understand just how limited the overall benefits are on the self employed.

    This, as much as the dry calculation over who pays into and draws from the state system, is really what used to drive the differential tax treatment for the self employed. Hammond has walked away from this, and this is a risk, not perhaps so much politically, but economically. We really do need a vibrant business start up sector, and undercutting this may well have longer term implications for the economy.

  17. Sam

    Thanks for that.

    It’s certainly a distinct possibility that more entrenched attitudes will develop within one or both communities – fostered by the hard core.

    However, there are indications in NI polling that generational change is happening, and that a party like Sinn Fein has been reasonably adept at recognising that, and using a new generation of leadership to signal that transition.

    Whether the DUP can do the same, remains to be seen.

  18. @ Alec

    I’m more worried about the effect the change in director’s personal tax will have on incorporated small businesses, pretty painful potentially for young companies.

  19. @Alec – On the NI increase

    Your reply to Pete, I think you’ve summed up the situation well. I’m a little surprised about how vociferous the Press reaction has been.

    Haven’t seen it mentioned on here but even Stephen Hawking has branded Corbyn as a disaster.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/stephen-hawking-jeremy-corbyn-disaster-labour-step-down-party-leader-a7615261.html

    “I regard Corbyn as a disaster.”

  20. Danny: “The big threat I have always seen is not that trade will suddenly stop, but that the change of circumstances will place a permanent disdvantage on any firm based in the Uk trading into the EU. It is pretty obvious that such a firm will relocate to an EU country. Both from desire to maximise its profits, but also for fear of being put out of business by competitors who do get this advantage.”

    Thanks for an interesting view of the Brexit process.

    It’s an odd thing that the same people who believe that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ also believe that losing membership privileges upon leaving amounts to a punishment beating.

    I assume your paragraph I’ve quoted above refers mainly to non-UK companies who have based subsidiaries in the UK to service the Single Market. I don’t think many British companies will up sticks and relocate to the EU (though they may set operating companies up there: Easyjet is a case in point).

    What will be very interesting over the next couple of years is to watch FDI flows into the UK. If we continue heading for hard Brexit, I suspect they will fall sharply, which will put further pressure on sterling.

  21. Neil A,
    “there is a great deal riding on it for the SNP.”

    Is there? What? The result of the last refrendum seems to have been to increase their general popularity even though they lost. With that precedent they should hold them annually.

    As politicians, I would expect them to play the best hand they can to try to get independence, but if they fail they will simply await the next opportunity.

    S Thomas,
    “Does anybody really believe that Brexit is the cause of the demand for a second indy ref? If the vote had been remain does anybody think that Sturgeon would have retired in 5 or 10 years time without having another go?”

    I am sure Sturgeon would not have given up, but yes, I believe the Brexit vote has created an immediate opportunity for her to try again.

    Sam, Oldnat,
    perhaps what is happening is that a new style Irish naitonalism is developing, which is for Northern Ireland itself rather than the south or mainland. I could see a federal solution to the reunification of North and south as one country, but the way we are going I could see it embracing Scotland too. A proper federal state with full devolution and all having veto rights at the EU. It might not be ideal for anyone, but it could just squeak through as do-able.

  22. Danny

    “perhaps what is happening is that a new style Irish naitonalism is developing, which is for Northern Ireland itself rather than the south or mainland””

    There was Lucid Talk polling (Moreno question) on this in 2015,

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/bill-white/what-nationality-do-people-in-northern-ireland-think-they-are-34177095.html

    Article has the breakdown by nationalist/unionist/others, but the overall numbers were

    21% – Irish only
    14% – British only
    15% – Northern Irish
    4% – Other
    35% – British and Northern Irish
    11% – Irish and Northern Irish

    Yes. That identity does seem to have grown.

  23. @Danny

    I believe that we have more or less reached “Peak Indy”.

    Once Brexit is achieved, and the UK is outside the EU and the SIngle Market, the case for independence will face all of the obstacles the case for Brexit did.

    Scotland’s oil wealth is depleting and her ability to withstand the shock, however temporary, of detaching from the UK and swimming alone whilst waiting for EU or EFTA membership, will be limited.

    The SNP will eventually be subject to the laws of political gravity. At some point in the next 20 years another force will rise and challenge them.

    If they can’t win a referendum whilst in complete dominance of Scottish politics, riding the wave of a Scottish “Remain” vote which was outweighed by E&W, whilst the Tories have a majority government in Westminster, and whilst a relatively clear path to independence within the EU is available to them, then I doubt that they’ll win one in Sturgeon’s lifetime.

  24. Somerjohn,
    “I assume your paragraph I’ve quoted above refers mainly to non-UK companies who have based subsidiaries in the UK to service the Single Market.”

    I would think any company capable of moving. Sure, this might mean setting up a foreign subsidiary of a UK company and banks seem to be doing this already. Globalisation means ability to move.

    There is of course an opposite side to the coin, as we saw recently with some company share prices rising on a falling pound because they are already based abroad. There may indeed be some benefits. But we have a whopping exposure to trade with the EU.

  25. @neila

    “Once Brexit is achieved, and the UK is outside the EU and the SIngle Market, the case for independence will face all of the obstacles the case for Brexit did.”

    Yet Brexit won and, we are all assured, is going to be wonderful. Why not Scottish independence?

    “Scotland’s oil wealth is depleting and her ability to withstand the shock, however temporary, of detaching from the UK and swimming alone whilst waiting for EU or EFTA membership, will be limited.”

    Why should there be any gap? And Scotland’s GVA per capita excluding oil is good.

    Peak Indy, peak SNP has been predicted by commentators for at least the past 10 years that I can recall!

  26. @Hireton,

    Brexit won by the skin of its teeth, hasn’t happened yet and is still being opposed vigorously. I wasn’t one who assured you it would be wonderful in any event…

    By “gap” do you mean a break in the continuity between leaving the UK and joining the EU?

    Surely this is inherent? Scotland can’t really negotiate membership of the EU until it is a country. And as it would be a country outside of the EU that would presumably take some time. Unless the glacial speed of negotiating with the UK can somehow reach lightspeed when negotiating with just Scotland?

    And Scotland’s ties with the rUK, if Brexit is any guide, might take some time to settle down. I believe the UK would be a much friendlier and constructive negotiator with the Scots than the EU will be with the UK, but there would be a huge amount to decide, and the time that would take would fuel uncertainty that would harm Scottish-UK trade.

    []

  27. Neil A

    “I believe that we have more or less reached “Peak Indy”.”

    If only I had a decent bottle of malt for every time I’d read comments like that over the last 40 years or so, I’d have a warehouse full of them! (well, almost full – I might have drunk a few).

    Not that I’m one to challenge any man’s beliefs as to the future – I’m just hesitant in paying much attention to them unless they are well grounded in evidence.

    I don’t know whether support for indy will decline, increase or remain stable – and neither do you.

    The Daily Mash has an alternative vision, of course, and sounds just as reasonable.

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/indyref2-set-for-after-may-has-ballsed-everything-up-but-before-shes-kicked-out-20170309123778

  28. @OldNat

    Of course we don’t know.

    If the rumours that Sturgeon is aiming for 2018 are true though, it may be she shares my view – evidence or no evidence.

  29. Neil A: ” I believe the UK would be a much friendlier and [more] constructive negotiator with the Scots than the EU will be with the UK”

    Well, that’s an interesting thought. It’s not a comparison I’ve thought about, but my instinct is to feel that the rUK government might be quite vindictive towards Scotland – a partner spurned, and all that. But maybe we (in this context, English and Welsh) are more magnanimous than we appear?

  30. OldNat

    It’d be interesting to note if those differences were driving the independence vote, or whether people in favour of independence tend to come to those opinions.

    Unfortunately it’s quite difficult to prove causation but it does seem that the 34% of people against independence who think TM isn’t representing Scotland’s interests will be a lot more fertile ground that the 6% of independence voters who do. That’s a fairly healthy section of the population to be targeted.

    One other factor which might strengthen a 2018 vote is if Corbyn is still in place.and labour are still doing so poorly (or worse) in the polls.

  31. @ Somerjohn

    I think both the EU & SNP (if this actually happens which I seriously doubt) negotiations will end up as dirty & vindictive political fights, nothing held back. There may be just too many sneering faces looking over from t’other side of La Manche for any sort of acceptable deal to be done, history repeating itself.

  32. New thread!!

  33. Alan

    These things are always a bit chicken & egg – and when you ask about party leaders, personal likes and dislikes come into it too.

    One disadvantage that I think both May and Corbyn share, is that they don’t really understand the political dynamics within the Scottish polity – and their advisers seem to know even less.

    That’s a big handicap when “playing away from home”, and one that Sturgeon has been exploiting since the referendum by suggesting compromises to give No/Remain voters what they want.

    From a Scottish (and party, for that matter) stance, Sturgeon would have been delighted if May had agreed the compromise.

    From an indy point of view, the more intransigent and Anglo-centric May’s government appears, then more of that 34% might (unwillingly, and not what they would have preferred) reluctantly vote Yes.

  34. So A50 has got through parliament and NS wants another IndyRef. No surprises there.

    What is irritating me tonight is that it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the democratic principle of referenda of this nature is flawed; at least to the extent to which we choose to hold such votes in the context that it is at the beginning of a process of negotiation and agreement.

    In both the Brexit vote and IndyRef 1 (I know it wasn’t the first, but you know what I mean), voters were given a choice between maintaining a status quo that most considered unsatisfactory and entering a process of negotiating an agreement, the outcome of which, with all due respect to everyones’ opinions on the subject, is unknown as to whether it will or will not be more or less favourable than the status quo. “Gamble” or “Collect”, which is what such referenda boil down to, will never be positioned as such.

    I don’t know the answer. A referendum at the end of the negotiations would make such negotiations impossible as it would not be in the interests of the party that wants to prevent departure from happening to offer even a half reasonable arrangement.

    Maybe such thorns as these should be arbitrated upon by an independent third party either before or after such a vote. (can anyone spot the indirect reference to a G&S operetta in this Sentence?)

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