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. italics LOL experimenting with HTML formatting and not quite got the hang of it yet !

  2. One more try for tonight:


    @Fred S

    “My impression of the current Labour leadership contenders – and again it has to be very heavily qualified by the limited availability of necessary information to members of the public”

    Shurely this is a mishtake = they have just finished 8 weeks and twenty hustings which have been widely reported and several of which can be replayed on the web.

    If anyone apolitical and disinterested does not know anything about the candidates then that is – I would hazard a guess- a result of these two personal qualities.

    Anyone with an iota of interest in current affairs can find out whatever they want- which is more than can be said of Cameron in 2005… ;-)

    “Put it this way. If in the TV debates at the next election the other parties’ candidates turned on any of the current Labour leadership contenders and sneered “You’re no John Kennedy”, what answer would they have?”

    In answer to David Cameron “You are no Tony Blair Mr Prince Regent

    In answer to Nicholas Clegg “You are no Paddy Ashdown Mr Theroux

  3. AHA :-)

  4. Rob Sheffield. I would dispute how much media impact, as opposed to coverage, the many Labour leadership debates have had.

    In addition, the validity (I am using this word as a technical term) of public debates as a means of selecting a party leader is questionable, although I would of course agree that there does need to be democratic input into the process .

  5. I watched the repeat last night (August 3rd.) of Nick Robinson’s BBC programme about the post-election negotations.

    I was surprised at how clearly personality factors came across, as opposed to the numerical situtation that a Labour/LibDem coalition did not stack up. Quite simply, Cameron and Clegg, and the Conservative and LibDem negotiating teams, got on whilst Brown was “beyond the pale” .The Labour team apparently never built up rapport with the LibDems.

    Labour went into the coalition negotations unprepared and they probably did not have the right people in their team of four (where were Alan Johnson – an experienced union negotiator – and Harriet Harman?).

    Superb negotiating skills and person management skills are almost certainly a key requirement for a party leader. Frankly, Ed Balls did not exhibit such skills in the BBC programme, and if the other leadership candidates are so good at getting people to do what they want why weren’t they more prominent in the coalition negotations?

    Incidentally, it was remarkable in Nick Robinson’s programme that Labour did not seem to try to get the Nationalists and other smaller parties onside and attenpting to influence the media and events. As far as I can recollect, people like Alex Salmond were not even mentioned. After all Labour, unlike the Tories, needed the smaller parties on board in order to get a coalition government to work.

    Compared to the Conservatives in particular, Labour are not good enough organizationally. And they haven’t brought through any outstanding, or perhaps even good enough, leadership candidate. I think the lack of any clear leader in the contest, as shown by the poll we are discussing on this thread, shows this.

    It is far from impossible that the first task of the Labour leader after the next General Election will be to “win” coalition negotiations. Which, if any of the current five candidates could outmanouvre Cameron (clearly a class act in such situations) or Clegg at the negotaiting table?

  6. @FS

    Which, if any of the current five candidates could outmanouvre Cameron (clearly a class act in such situations)

    That is not what the Tory press and journals think- believing (most probably quite accurately) that Cameron was proverbially ‘stitiched up like a kipper’ by the mercurial Clegg and who failed miserably to hold the line and negotiate from a position of a man who commanded six times as many HoC seats.

    The post September Labour front bench (a talented and mainly young one) is going to be more than a match for the coalition IMHO. Particularly as the coalition front bench is largely stitched together from two parties and several wings of the Conservative movement.

  7. I take your point about Cameron, Rob.

    It is possible, though , that by being clearly very generous at the start, Cameron has forestalled difficulties from the LibDems when the going gets tough. LibDems trying to break the agreement will look very ungrateful, whilst the Tory right (by the way Cameron has not been all that inclusive within his party) have nowhere else to go.

    But Clegg and the LibDem tail could wag the Tory (or Labour) dog after the election because they had an alternative way of getting into office. Cameron didn’t , not least because, as previously discussed, the Grand Coalition Labour-Conservative option appears never to have been contemplated.

    Could a charismatic Labour leader, possibly even Blair (whose superifical people skills at first outwieghted other weaknesses). have achieved a different outcome from the coalition negotiations.

    In the nineteenth century, a number of Governments, even with apparently secure majorities, fell apart during the course of a parliament, in part because opposition leaders were able to exploit fracture lines. There is clearly scope for a top-drawer Labour leader to play on people like Simon Hughes and Sir Menzies Campbell, and perhaps even Vince Cable. But are you really telling me that the Labour front bench are up there with the likes of Palmerston. Derby or Gladstone?

    And it takes more than talented individuals. It takes good organization and a principled programme (something many people doubt that New Labour has). Will Labour demonstrate these things after September? It’s not long to wait and see, but I am doubtful.

  8. @FS

    It takes good organization and a principled programme. Will Labour demonstrate these things after Septemberi>

    We shall see: but my answer is ‘YES’

  9. New Statesman Labour hustings from June has been repeated on BBC Parliament for the last hour.

    It has underscored for me the P1DM/ P2EB/ P3AB choice even more

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