We finally have a proper poll on the Labour leadership contest. In the Sun tomorrow YouGov have a poll of Labour party members, and of members of affiliated trade unions. Full results are here.

Amongst Labour party members David Miliband leads on first preferences, with 38% support, though Ed Miliband is not far behind on 32%. Diane Abbott is third with 13%, Andy Burnham on 10% and Ed Balls last on 7%. The second preferences of Diane Abbott and Ed Balls’ supportes split in favour of Ed Miliband, with Andy Burnham’s supporters splitting pretty equally between the two.

When all respondents are asked to pick who they would prefer between the Milibands (as a way of estimating what would happen once all the second, third and fourth preferences had fallen out), David Miliband and Ed Miliband are exactly equal amongst Labour party members, with 50% a piece once those who didn’t express a preference are excluded.

Turning to Trade Union members, David Miliband again comes top on first preferences with 34% support, followed by Ed Miliband on 26%, Diane Abbott on 17%, Burnham on 13% and Balls on 11% – the same order as amongst members. Second preferences of trade union voters though split either evenly between the Milibands, or in favour of David – meaning that David Miliband leads his brother by 56% to 44%.

The final section of the electorate college is the MPs. YouGov did not poll them, but has based a projection on the work Left Foot Forward have done, based on MPs nominations (adjusted to reflect the nominations that were “lent” to Diane Abbott from supporters of other campaigns). Their second preferences are based on a canvass of Abbott, Burnham and Balls supporters by Left Foot Forward, but relatively few would give responses meaning that YouGov have mostly assumed they will split evenly between the Milibands.

The conclusion of this, is that the race is between David and Ed Miliband, and it is very close. On YouGov’s current figures, David Miliband is ahead, but this is based solely upon the Trade Union vote and some quite flimsy assumptions about how MPs second preferences will split. The big trade unions have mostly endorsed Ed Miliband, and once they contact their members urging them to back Ed it may well shift the trade union vote in his favour. Equally, we really do have very little information on MPs second preferences, so the MP section of the college really could go either way.

Based on the polling so far, David Miliband leads, but it is perfectly possible for Ed Miliband to win.

259 Responses to “David Miliband narrowly ahead in YouGov Labour leadership poll”

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  1. Roland – We don’t elect PMs in this country, there’s really nothing else to say.

  2. Garry K

    Thanks Garry – yes in some suggested implementations of a graduate tax I may not end up paying, having already paid for my courses whilst working. So from a personal point of view I would probably be fine.

    I’d still be concerned that it might put people off from doing a degree altogether or finding ways to get alternative qualifications that employers would accept that would undermine the graduate system. Thats why I prefer just simply charging more tax to the higher earners across the board.

    It may even mean more tax to the high end of middle-income earners (which would then include me as well) but I would be happy to pay that as I do believe in a progressive tax regime.

    I think from your comments we agree on more progressive tax changes and I agree with you that the coalition (specifically because of the Conservative influence) are unlikely to adopt changes of this nature.

    A graduate tax is also another case of piling burdens onto our kids that historically never applied to previous generations when university education was previously paid from general taxation.

    As university education keeps improving in popularity then in 25 years time it is possible to envision a society where maybe three quarters or more of 18 year olds want to go to university and have the necessary grades and skill to go, whilst expecting to work well into their 70’s.

    Once we get to that stage then how can we justify not making university education up to the age of 21 a universal right to our children, just as education to 18 is currently a right? I see this as progress.

    On the Open University it is a fantastic instution that has changed millions of lives through the years. The quality of the courses and respect it enjoys is impressive – all at a fraction of the price of traditional uni’s.

    With tuition fees being so expensive there are already a large number of students opting for OU instead of traditional university. I think that the OU may well offer an opportunity for a government to offer free university education.

    How many more students would decide to study with the OU if the government offered to pay full tuition fees and a grant to all students who decide to follow this path instead of the traditional Uni route? That would be far cheaper than the ridiculous amounts of debt being piled on students at the moment.

  3. I genuinely want some help here. On the same tack as my post to Cosmo, a Labour supporter posts a query about Cameron being an elected PM because his party did not get 317 seats in the GE. Considering his party was 50 seats and 2.5 million in front of any other, can there be any doubt about him being elected? In addition, his negotiations with a smaller party were swift and successful and concluded with a full blown coalition. Further, in the light of the built in advantage which the system currently gives Labour, is David Cameron an elected PM. IMPO, there is no doubt about it.

  4. @SUE
    I fully understand the way it works Sue, we rely on the political parties to not foist some individual upon us that even their own party hates. But there is such a thing as extracting the urine and I think that is what the original poster was getting at.


    Sue has already mentioned – we don’t elect Prime Ministers. The only thing we elect is individual MP’s.

    Cameron led a party that didn’t win enough MP’s at an election to form a government outright. Same situation as Wilson in 1974.

    The only way of considering him elected is if you say that he was leader during the election campaign and ended up Prime Minister immediately after like Thatcher, Blair, Wilson, Heath etc – he still wasn’t elected directly as PM – but if thats the point your making then I think we all get it.

  6. Going back to the point of this thread, Ed Balls is rather growing on me.

    I know the Blue’s on here think he’d be a disaster, but they’ll never vote Labour anyway. I’m not so sure. He’s scored some good hits recently, and his campaign literature is very persuasive indeed.

    Can’t really understand the EM thing, but a perfectly good candidate if he does win. I just think if you want a unifying “broad church” kind of leader with experience, charisma and ability, you’d go for DM. If you want to go a bit left, include that disenfranchised swathe of left leaning voters whilst remaining appealing enough to keep the centre, you’d go Balls.

  7. I am also interested in what IDS is saying, but don’t trust the tories to implement it fairly.

    I have often pondered the viability of paying everybody a lump sum that is taxable as an alternative to jobseekers/income support. Very simple system very cheap to administer, reduce disincentive to work and 50% of the money to the top earners would come back in tax

  8. @Sue
    “Re : IDS.

    I have said many times on this very forum, that of all the current Tories, I trusted him most to announce a plan that he genuinely believe would address the problems of the benefit culture. He has devoted his life since leading his party to solving this problem, and he hasn’t done it from a nice comfy Westminster office, but from estates all over the UK.”

    So true – nice to hear it from a Labour supporter.

    I’m glad they put him in the cabinet but I wish he’d get more recognition publicly for his efforts at recognizing the needs of the most vulnerable and seeking to find solutions. I suppose he’s just not Guardianist or Murdoch’s type.

    He could have been PM 5 years ago and started applying his work sooner but he didn’t give up, he just kept up the work. I wonder if they’re using his research into public services including NHS that he carried out round the world as party leader.

  9. I know these things shouldn’t matter, but they do. Ed Miliband talks as though a wasp has stung his tongue. This means that he will not win an election for the Labour Party. His brother also talks in a (different) strange way and his manner always reminds me of the school sneak. ‘Blinky’ Balls has his own strange mannerism, and Diane Abbott has an intriguing habit of rolling her eyes back in her head when she’s thinking of an answer to a question. The only reasonably ‘normal’ person is Burnham, but it doesn’t look as though he’ll win.

    It seems that the Labour Party has entered one of it’s self-destructive phases. It’s reminiscent of when Foot beat Healey for the leadership. The public was never going to vote in big numbers for a long-haired leftie in a donkey jacket.

    In a spirit of non-partisanship I will point out that the Tories have had their share of unelectable leaders such as IDS and Howard.

  10. @Roland Haines
    On days when you get out of bed the right side your posts can be witty and entertaining, even to a Lab bloke like me. But the pluses melt away when you cross the line between logical debating points and personal insults. Remarks which include such words as “you should go to Specsavers and a psychiatrist” ruin any chance of your comments being taken seriously.

    @ anyone who is well informed about Lab leadership contenders, ( original subject of this thread ) have any of them declared their opposition to AV ?

  11. GARY & SUE
    I really do know that we do not go to the polls and put a x against the names of party leaders in order to get a PM. But I think we can establish that Tony Blair was an “elected PM” having won 3 elections. It is in that context that I and many others on this site have used the term. Alec Douglas-Home was not the party leader during a victorious election campaign like Brown or Callaghan. None of these were, in that sense “elected”. I am pursuing this because it seems to me you are using semantics to excuse a seeming disregard for democracy.

  12. Pete B – How many times are you going to post about

    “Labour Party has entered one of it’s self-destructive phases. It’s reminiscent of when Foot beat Healey for the leadership. The public was never going to vote in big numbers for a long-haired leftie in a donkey jacket.”

    Realistically all of the Labour candidates are fine, except DA, there are no Michael Howards or IDSs.

    Wishing for something does not make it so and Labour could not be further away from 1983 if they tried. The analogy really is silly and continually posting it can surely only be to needle the “other side”?

  13. Roland – Are you not using semantics to excuse a seeming disregard for democracy too?? You are happy to see DC as elected, yet you argue endlessly that GB was not.

    We all do it, but if some of the posts on here tried to put forward interesting, intelligent information and musings, rather than constantly playing policemen to what they see as the travesties of the other side, things would be much more interesting to read.

    Seriously, we all need to ask ourselves “When was the last time I asked What do we think of blah?, or How will blah move the polling figures?” I try very hard to start and continue debates that are favourable to both sides. If I think something is interesting I try to post about it fairly (IDS, foreign affairs, coalition programme). Is there really any point posting if it’s just because you’ve dredged up some juicy headline that will look bad for the “other side” or to constantly point out why someone’s opinion is wrong just because it isn’t the same as yours?
    Also, this fairness has to work both ways. If Lab do something I think is brilliant, it is no more partisan to say so than if I praise the Tories.

    Can all site policemen just step down and concentrate on the SPIRIT of the non-partisan rules even if not the letter of them?

  14. @Roland

    Well, I am a Labour supporter and I did query whether Cameron is an “elected “ PM.

    While it is a given that Prime Ministers are not elected under our system, I would argue that some have more legitimacy than others. It‘s usually the case that, following an election, the leader of the party which has an overall majority in the House of Commons is asked by the Queen to form a government of which he becomes PM.

    At the risk of being a bore, the Tories did not win sufficient seats to form a government in this way. Cameron is Prime Minister because his party has the support of MP’s whose voters did not vote Conservative.

  15. PETEB

    “The only reasonably ‘normal’ person is Burnham, but it doesn’t look as though he’ll win. ”

    I agree with that very much.

    Whilst AB clearly doesn’t have that elusive leadership quality-and has a rather “little boy lost” feel about him-he has something any government would fear:

    He has the common touch, and the ability to communicate concerns about goverment policy in an understandable & effective way.

  16. Oh dear. Sorry about that. Bashing the keys too hard! :-(

  17. @SUE
    Thank you for your candid and very sensible comments. I really do appreciate them.

    I think a surfeit of critisism aimed at the current right wing economic policies with little thought as to why we have those policies, has weighed me down. But enough of that, you are right in your comments.

  18. @Roland

    This really couldn’t be simpler…

    Under our current system we do not directly elect a PM.

    We *can* directly elect a Government, headed by a presumptive PM, by giving them enough FPTP to hold a majority in the House of Parliament. But it is not an automatic result of an election under our system that a Government is elected. That is the meaning of Hung Parliament.

    In this election, we did *not* elect a Government.

    Either way, in coalition, or assuming minority government, the government was appointed by negotiation within parliament.

    I want to stress this clearly now. Anyone who says that David Cameron was “elected as PM”, or anyone who says that the Conservative government “won” the election, seems to show grave and perhaps wilful ignorance of the UK constitution.

    If the Conservatives won the election, there would be a Conservative Government not a coalition. David Cameron is PM today because of negotiations amongst members of the the house of commons, not because of general democratic election to that office.

  19. @Sue Marsh
    “Can all site policemen just step down and concentrate on the SPIRIT of the non-partisan rules even if not the letter of them?”
    But it’s ok for you to be site headmistress ?

  20. Roland

    Not sure how pointing out our democracy doesn’t actually elect Prime Ministers is a disregard for democracy.

    So do you believe that John Majors first 2 years a PM were illegitimate democratically but once he was elected in 1992 then that was fine?

    In which case can we please strike from the statute books any legislation or decisions made during those 2 years of ‘undemocratic’ rule?

    The whole ‘Brown was illegitimate’ argument was a red herring and if democracy was such a big concern of the Tory party they would have suggested introducing an elected Prime Minister / Presidency.

    They haven’t suggested this either previously or now, which would suggest they don’t want to give people the power to elect a Prime Minister.

    We have a parliamentary democracy. If you want to reform it then that it a fair enough position to take but it seems unreasonable to attack any party for playing by the current rules.

  21. The best phrase to describe our system is “We do not elect PMs, we vote for Governments.” And we are not assured any single party government, or a “winning party”.

  22. Cozmo – Not at all. It was a genuine request. Why does that make me headmistress? By policemen I meant posters who only ever post to point out the folly of “the Other Side”

    I’ve been in moderation for a few days, and in that time I hardly read one post that wasn’t just nasty point scoring. It saddens me because I like this site.

    If that’s the response, maybe I should stick with my instinct and not post at all any more.

  23. Sue

    I agree about moderation over comments.

    I like this site too – partly because it tends not to spiral into point scoring tit-tat for blame games and discuss mainly polling and issues affecting electability.

    It would be a shame if it descended to the level of some of the message boards (see the BBC ones to get an idea of what I mean).

    I think, paradoxically, that there tends to be less discipline amongst people posting messages when an election is not imminent.

    Everyone would do well to heed your points and try and make any points in as factual and balanced way as possible, whatever their own political opinions. And I include myself.

  24. Roland

    By definition being used in this argument, between 1937 and 1963 4 of the 5 Conservative Prime Ministers were unelected (Chamberlain, Churchill, MacMillan and Douglas-Home) though some of them later won elections. None of these were even elected as leader by their parties.

    However, I like many others consider them all legitimate Prime Ministers. It could be argued that the least legitimate Prime Minister of recent times is John Major. In every other case, the Prime Minister who had won the election resigned and therefore had to be replaced. Margaret Thatcher won the election and was then replaced by her party, against her wishes and without consulting the electorate.

  25. Sorry, that’s ‘By the definition’.

  26. I bet we would all get on well in the pub, I might even share some of my earnings with you by buying a round or three, but of course it would be my choice, not imposed on me by the pub landlord because I’m a horrible parasite. :-)

  27. @SUE MARSH……………Behave, you know we all love you. :-)

  28. Ken – You’d be far too old to be drinking with gorgeous young fillies like me.

  29. @Sue…………Age is only one element in the equation, success, power, money, all go into the mix. I often find myself surrounded by gorgeous young fillies, however, I do sometimes question their motives. :-)

  30. @Aleksander (9.35am 30th July) –

    “DCs comments may have been to promote his image but that does not alter the basic charge that the ISI is batting for both sides.”

    Agreed, but that’s not the point. We now see Pakistan retaliating for such a bad snub by withdrawing intelligence cooperation – a disaster for anti terrorism operations. Cameron is rightly being criticised by left and right for this blunder. It was much worse for being said in India.

    There’s a lot of things the coalition is doing that I like, but I can see a theme forming of rushed legislation, shoot from the hip foreign policy statements and a general desire to be radical fast that I foresee a range of problems emerging as some of the more ill judged steps they have taken in their desire for rapid change start to unravel.

    In my view Cameron had a record on this in oppostion, and it’s clear this has carried on into government. With regard to Pakistan he has risked a complete breakdown with a country that is, for all it’s faults, an absolutely key ally for the UK.

  31. @Sue Marsh
    ‘Wishing for something does not make it so and Labour could not be further away from 1983 if they tried. The analogy really is silly and continually posting it can surely only be to needle the “other side”?’

    As this is a thread about the Labour leadership contenders it seemed reasonable to give my opinion of them – for the first time on this thread I may say.

    I may have made similar points on other threads, but it is one of the few things that is happening in politics at the moment.


    If you can let Roland Haine’s unpleasant description of me as a ‘spineless leftie’ through unmoderated, you should certainly let my reply through as it was reasonably polite and moderate in the circumstances..

  33. “One of the few things that is happening in politics at the moment”?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????

    An irreversible self-destruction of the Labour party as they descend into 1983 style left wing radicalism??

    Even I haven’t read that paper.

  34. Thanks to everyone who has posted to explain our system. However, I say for the 3rd time I already know how our system works. My concern is a succession of PMs who were not Party Leaders when their party won the GE. Therefore they did not get the nations endorsement as the next PM at the GE.

    Anyway all done and dusted now.

  35. DavidB

    Anthony has automatic moderation on, so some words will always send you into limbo – including some which can be inflammatory in some contexts, but innocuous in others.

    Obviously AW can’t be around 24 hours a day to rescue you and let it through or not. You’ll just have to find more roundabout ways of insulting Roland. :)

  36. Roland – What succession is this? Is GB not the only one who matches your strange unelected description anyway?

    One more point on this. Blair made it very clear he would step down in that parliament anyway and that it would be for Brown. The public voted on that basis. Had they been so outraged at this coup, they could have voted Labour out in 2005

  37. To All
    I think this is getting very silly indeed. A poster complains to AW that I called him a spineless leftie.
    He does not metion that he called me a Right Wing Buffoon and told me to get of the board.
    If people wish to keep the site civil and I am sure we all do, these comments either have to stop or be be stopped. Further, perhaps we can leave it to AW to decide who stays on the board and who goes.

  38. Ken – I’d go for the young, rakish, radical, revolutionary every time ;)

  39. Sue,
    All I meant was that Labour seem determined to elect someone as leader that in my opinion will not win them the next election, just as they did in 1983. I never said they were going further left or that it was irreversible. You seem determined to take offence at what you deem to be my thoughts rather than what i actually say.

    I was also at pains to point out that it is not something that Labour alone are prone to.


    What you omitted to mention was that I suggested that anyone who is more interested in personalised comment as opposed to relevant comment should get off the board.

    I shall not addrress any more comments in your direction from now on under any circumstances.

    Most of us on this board have strong views and most of us try and get to grips with where people with different views to our own our coming from – note approval from Labourites for some of IDS’s ideas. Your problem, Roland, is that you seem to lack any empathy at all for people who have different views to your own.

  41. @SUE
    I am not just popping at Brown Sue. The whole thing started as a hypothetical case in the first place. My concern was a seeming “so what” attitude towards say vote Cameron get David Davies. Or vote Milliband get Balls, obviously from time to time it is going to happen, but I dont think its something to just pass over.

  42. Pete B – No offence, your post is just silly. Every single poll points to DM winning, the candidate most feared by the Tories and the candidate with experience, an easy way with interviewers and a charm that the public outside of the Labour Party seem to acknowledge.

  43. @DAVID B
    What a hammer blow.

  44. Aha Roland, I remember now. Fair point. The public arguably did know they would get Brown if they voted Blair in 2005, but no-one voted Cameron expecting to get David Davies!! That would be quite a change and arguably there would be no mandate at all, as it was Cameron who convinced people to vote Tory again by moving away from policies espoused by those such as Davies.

  45. @SUE
    That would be one way to look at it yes. The poster yesterday created a scenario whereby Labour won the last GE. Brown however, was forced to stand down. A N Other stood in as caretaker for these few months until Milliband became leader.
    So this whole bloody argument which I am sure we all are getting very tired of, is hypothetical what could of happened.

  46. @Sue Marsh
    I am not an expert on internal Lab affairs, but I have the feeling that you are right about DM.
    Anyway, today I love everybody (and you are at the top of my list) because 1) I begin my holidays in Greece (everything is a mess but I love it and 2) the new Mussolini who appeared to be invincible just pushed the button !!!

  47. I intended to say: the Button SELF DESTRUCT.

  48. Can we please please stop arguing about whether Prime Ministers are “elected” or not? There is no such thing. David Cameron is no more an “elected PM” than he is a mermaid and every PM since Walpole is the same.

    In a parliamentary system the Prime Minister is appointed because he or she can form a government that can command a working majority or plurality in the parliament. S/he is appointed to that position by the head of state, but if unable to maintain the control over parliament someone else is appointed and/or new elections to the Parliament held.

    I’ve been fed with this since people were whingeing about John Major. The legitimacy derives only from parliament and from appointment – in the UK by the Queen.

    Can I suggest that anyone wittering on about “elected” PMs is clearly committing lese majeste in trying to remove Her Majesty’s functions and should be taken to Tower Hill and executed for high treason in one of the inventive ways that English history specifies? Anything to shut them up. :x

  49. Virgilio – Berlusconi?

  50. YES!!!
    By ousting Parliament President Gianfranco Fini from his party, he has been left without a majority, since 33 MPs followed Fini (Berlusconi’s informants had told him that no more than 20 PMs would follow Fini) and formed a new group that will give only conditional support to Berlusconi’s government, so it’s either anticipated election, or a new broad-spectrum government without Berlusconi, or a trip to Hell whenever an important legislation is debated.

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