4 Lessons from Ian Warren's YouGov Poll of Labour Members

Ian Warren, the polling expert, has commissioned YouGov to poll Labour Party members. It is YouGov’s first poll since last year of Labour Party members.

The poll makes very interesting reading and shows a significant shift in the views of Labour members. I was alerted that there was a poll in the field last week and anecdotally I suspected that the results would be very similar to what we’ve seen.   

1. There is no clear anti-corbyn candidate. In the short term this almost guarantees that there won’t be a leadership challenge. The PLP has learned from last year. Owen Smith simply wasn’t ready. He didn’t have the team in place, the message or the profile to beat Jeremy.

In the longer term in the event of a vacancy this shouldn’t be mistaken for the fact that someone could come from nowhere to win. The last 2 Labour leaders won after a grassroots driven campaign that came from nowhere. I worked for Ed Miliband 2010’s campaign and we had hundreds of people at our phonebanks. We tapped into the real enthusiasm of Labour members, in exactly the same way Jeremy did by capturing the hearts and minds of people.

This poll shows that many candidates could be competitive, but currently there is no clear alternative. If I was reading this poll as a rival to Jeremy, I would read as the field is clearly open and that my campaign would need to start from day 1 with a strong message & a strong team. In 2010 Ed Miliband won in part because he was better prepared than David. In 2015 Jeremy ran the best campaign.

2. Some Labour members are annoyed with Jeremy Corbyn over Europe. This poll shows that in the space of a year Jeremy’s popularity in Labour has plummeted. His approval has dropped from 72% to 54% and his disproval has risen from 17% to 37%. Britain leaving the EU is listed as the biggest issue by Labour members and given 90% plus of Labour members voted to remain, you could make the measured conclusion that this drop has to do with Jeremy’s performance over Europe. I know several people who voted and campaigned for Jeremy in both 2015 and 2016 who have resigned over his position on Article 50.

3. If the Leadership election was now Jeremy could lose. This poll says that if there was a leadership election 52% of people would vote for Jeremy and 46% wouldn’t with 2% undecided. This is clearly a big drop from 2016 and if my first point managed to resolve itself then Jeremy could be beaten.

4. A significant proportion of the membership distrusts the PLP. One of the most shocking things about this poll is it says that 37% of Labour members don’t trust the PLP to tell the truth. That is a really alarmingly high number. Labour’s internal rules makes deselection very difficult but the Labour Party should be concerned and take action to deal with this problem. 

I have considerable experience in Labour's membership having worked in 2010 for Ed Miliband being in charge of engagement with Labour Members, on the 2012  Labour Mayor Campaign as Head of Digital & Member Mobilisation & set up Organise Consulting that was nominated by Campaigns & Elections Magazine for International Firm of the Year in 2015 for signing up 1 in 4 of all voters in the 2015 leadership election. 

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