YouGov have carried out a fresh poll of Labour party members and Trade Unionists for tomorrow’s Sunday Times. Six weeks ago a similar YouGov poll found David Miliband eight points ahead; today’s poll finds the two Milibands neck and neck, with Ed Miliband very narrowly ahead. For those of you with subscriptions, the Sunday Times’s full report can be found here.

As before, YouGov asked people their first preference, their second preference, and then who they would prefer between the two Milibands (based on the, thankfully correct, assumption that the poll would show the two Milibands coming up top on the early preferences). Samples of party members and members of Labour affiliated trade unions were polled, and MPs preferences were based upon updated work by Left Foot Forward.

The main shift is amongst Trade Unionists. In the Labour member section there is only a small movement towards Ed – in July the two brothers were equal on 50% each, now Ed is ahead by 4 points. Amongst the MPs and MEPs section there has been a very slight movement towards David, and Left Foot Forward’s projected split for MPs & MEPs is now David 56%, Ed 44%. Amongst Trade Unionists there has been a large movement, in July we found a lead of 12 points for David amongst eligible trade unionists. Since then there has been a huge shift, and Ed now leads David in that section by 57% to 43%. Prima facie, it would appear that trade union encouragement of their members to back the candidate they endorsed had a decisive effect.

Putting all three parts of the college together this leaves Ed two points ahead, 51% to 49%. David Miliband is still ahead amongst MPs, but it’s not enough to overcome Ed Miliband’s lead among members and trade unionists.

One big caveat is MPs second preferences – Left Foot Forward have a good canvas of how MPs will cast their first preferences, but there is little good information on how MPs will cast their second preferences. In both YouGov projections we have made the crude assumption that the second preferences of MPs who back Abbott, Balls and Burnham will divide evenly between David and Ed Miliband, but obviously this could go either way. About two thirds of MPs are backing a Miliband anyway, so this unknown section makes up a third of a third of the total vote – about 10%. Another unknown is turnout, but notably over 40% of those polled said they had already voted, and these respondents were more likely to backing Ed Miliband, so if YouGov have included too many unlikely voters, the result should be more favourable to Ed than this suggests.

With the MPs second preferences unknown and the two candidates within the margin of error it really could go either way, but Ed Miliband is now in poll position.

Meanwhile, on YouGov’s standard daily polling (an entirely seperate poll, obviously) voting intention stands at CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 14%. YouGov also asked about the future of Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s Director of Communications who was editor of the News of the World at the time of the phone tapping scandal. 48% think Coulson should go, 24% that he should keep his job.

414 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times Labour leadership poll”

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  1. @Sue

    I highly doubt california would vote for a blanket drugs legalisation…more likely to be dope or something but not all of them.


    Hahahaha, its okay, i guess i could too for the day play something agaisnt my own character like a old die-hard socialist :D

  2. For those interested- live texting from the TUC hustings

    h ttp://

    and on live Video streaming from the BBC

    h ttp://

  3. @Roger

    With regard to MPs and MEPs I have absolutely no knowledge except the conviction that a large number of them may be lying through their teeth. </i?

    Yes- the fashionable candidate to say (openly) you are voting for (its a secret ballot remember) is EM- especially if your CLP activists or UNION sponsors are pro ED.

    IHMO 50-50 is a overestimate of EM second preferences ;-)

  4. Sue Marsh

    Thanks for that. I have a nephew in California. I must ask him to keep me in touch with developments.

  5. @ Billy Bob

    I have seen Jamie Oliver on tv a few times. He’s a tv chef right? I don’t watch very often. The one who I love is that Nigella Lawson. Her show hasn’t been on recently but she is awesome. And she’s definitely from the upper classes, her dad was the Chancellor of the Exchequer when Thatcher was Prime Minister.

    @ Howard

    I have a neighbor who is from England and speaks with a strong English accent though she’s been in the U.S. for almost 50 years. And what’s ironic is that she has the BBC/Home County/David Cameron/Tony Blair Queen’s English accent but she’s actually from the north. She told me that the reason for her accent was that her parents sent her to boarding school when she was young.

    Since you mentioned downmarket Glasgow accents, I must ask, does Jim Murphy speak with a “posh” accent? I have a friend who came here from Sunderland when she was young and she has no trace of her English accent left but she’s familiar with accent and regional differences and she told me that Murphy’s Scottish accent was “posh.” And she said the same of Gordon Brown.

    @ Eoin

    “With social snobs it precludes friendship. These characters tend to be rather rigid unhappy dudes who you would not really want to be mates with in the first place. ”

    I agree. I’ve had people look down on me in the past because I was not perceived to be in their class. Then when they found out I qualified, they suddenly were friendly towards me. I had no interest though in being friends with them.

    @ Colin

    I appreciate your viewpoint and perspective on this.

  6. The Labour hustings at the TUC just ended on BBC live video streaming.

    Once again the principal impressions I am left with are twofold:

    1) That the divisions between the four blokes are miniscule compared to their collective differences with Cameron-Clegg which are HUGE;

    2) That we are going to have such a strong front bench team come October :-)

  7. @ Billy Bob and Eoin

    Yes, it is SoCalLiberal. It’s a monniker I use on Daily Kos, an American left leaning blog where I like to blog (and on a few other sites where I occassionally blog). You may be dyslexic but you’re not misspelling my name. I figured that most of you just assumed I was mispelling my own name. But I didn’t really mind.

    @ Amber Star

    I’m sure that Burnham has a strong future as a leader within the Labour Party even if one of the Milibands does become the leader.

  8. Rob – “Plus legalising means they are for sale right.” –
    No. cannabis should be legalised possibly, but for harder drugs A patient would have to get a prescription from a GP.

    Amber -“The flaw I see in Sue’s plan is the: Give them as much as they need There’d be a queque of ‘addicts’ at their GP surgeries looking for the maximum prescription”

    This is a very important part of the debate. All studies show that de-criminalising/legalising drugs actually reduces the amount of addiction.

    Amsterdam for example was full of Brit hash weekenders but the residents of that particular city actually use little themselves) . The documentary found that crime went down that almost all addicts managed (even were delighted to to reduce their

    Colin – Thank you very much for finding all that info on Sweden. I’m so sorry I got the country wrong, as I see I wasted you time with my silly mistake.

    Andrew Chandler – ” I would strongly favour a big study to discovering the realities of drugs.” I couldn’t agree more.

    The problem with this issue IMO is that the facts – the things that really work -some so counter-intuitive, it’s hard for people to explain to them. When you take away the terror and the danger.and cloak and dagger

    The worst things about being an addict are:

    1) living every waking moment wondering when you’ll get your next fix, terrified that you won’t
    2)Having to deal with pimps, dealers and criminals
    3)Cost. They will always be thinking about money – how to get enough of it to feed their habit.

    By legalising, you can achieve ALL those things together

    The point about the addict getting a dose they are used to is vital. Trust MUST be established between a GP and the patient. What’s more all judgements/ stigma should stay in the waiting room. the addict starts to realise help is at hand.

  9. Sue
    Definitely not Sweden which did as other posts have said have a liberal drugs policy with disasterous results. The documentary may have been on Switzerland or one of the two cantons with legalised (in part) heroin etc; Zurich and Geneva. If it told a moderately positive story it would be geneva where it is supervised. There is a small-scale pilot project for the most chaotic addicts in a few places in England one of which is in Brighton. Most health professionals are scared of the staff time legalised heroin with supervision would take. The alternative would be the highly unatrractive situation in Zurich or sixties Sweden.
    Also on Curriculum for Excellence google it with the names Brian Boyd, Walter Humes, Keir Bloomer and lynsay Pattersonand you will get a broad picture. They are all good writers.
    Old Nat
    Thanks for the comment
    I have a long history in curricular development

  10. @ Hooded Man

    You are correct. :)

    @ Howard

    “Social liberal
    The class system, accent and dialect being the most important aspect on first meeting, dominates the English highest rungs of society completely, as you would find our within a few weeks of landing at Heathrow (possibly before reaching the exit).

    As Wilde said, those who deprecate Society, are those who were unable to get into it.

    Anecdote: (I have had the privilege to live and work for a while with some of these people) two ex-public school chaps said to each other (forgetting my presence) ‘what do you reckon to him’ about a lecturer at a conference. ‘I reckon minor public school’ said one. ‘Spot on’ said the other. They chuckled.

    You see, it even works in their own milieu.

    As Amber says, it’s the ‘gentile’ professions where this really operates, unless the person doesn’t even need one, such as the rural landed. Of course, bringing it around to our theme, this is where most of our most successful political class is drawn from, ( not Labour typically but……).

    We are only talking about perhaps 100,000 people max (including all ages) but the culture spreads afar as others here have pointed out.”

    If you’re some poor kid from Glasgow or you’re from the north or from Bootle or the Cockney speaking section of the East End……does that prevent you from moving upwards or if you are sent off to a boarding school and learn how to speak in the way that elites do, are the doors now open to you?

  11. @ Andrew Chandler

    I think you need to Simma Down Na. But seriously, you didn’t answer why gays and lesbians should only be allowed to marry in registry offices and not elsewhere. If that wasn’t your argument, I may not have understood.

    I did not slander you nor did I accuse you of being homophobic. In fact, I said nothing insulting to you and I am sorry if anything I wrote offended you. I simply read your posts and I responded.

    “My argument is that religious insitutions should not be forced to marry gay people if they do not accept it. However, this shouldnt stop religious insitutions that do accept homosexuality like the Quakers.”

    Well then, as I said before, I think we are in 100% complete agreement.

    @ Amber Star

    I think any British PM is going to become beloved by Americans. We love Brits and we love British accents. I think though of the candidates, Burnham has the kind of appeal that would win a U.S. election.

    @ Sue Marsh

    I don’t know if the measure will pass. I will certainly vote for it.

  12. @ SoCalLiberal

    You are one of my favourite on the boards, I hope you keep posting.

    At present, I am working with a Silicon Valley corporation so I know parts of CA quite well. :-)


    You are so right – I don’t think this coalition is going to cope with the pressure. Some Libs will peel off, slowly at first and then come the Lib disaster in the May elections anything could happen.

    This isn’t really a coalition anyway, with one lot (the Tories) trying to string the other lot (the Libs) along for as long as possible. Cleggy and the wee Danny will do everything to stick with it (all power corrupts etc) but there’ll be in a minority and it’ll be 2040 before the Libs get back to where they were in 2005 assuming they survive at all.

  14. @ Amber Star

    Thanks, you’re one of my favorites too.

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