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Backing for Corbyn has increased amongst party members says Times poll (updated)

times front page copyThis article has now been updated based on the full YouGov tables now published, which also reveal that opposition to austerity now stretches right across Labour’s political spectrum.

The Times (£) has revealed that backing for Jeremy Corbyn amongst those who voted in the contest has increased from the 59% who voted for him to 66% who think he is doing well according to a poll by YouGov of those who voted in the contest this summer. This is because whilst ‘only’ 86% of those who actually voted for him think he is doing “well” as party leader, he has impressed 40% of Andy Burnham supporters, 29% of Yvette Cooper’s and even 9% of Liz Kendall’s.

There is no significant difference between full members and supporters, nor by class or region (if anything those in the north are more favourable to Jeremy). The Times refers to this as “a remarkable endorsement” of the Labour leader after clashes between him and the shadow cabinet and what it describes as “his questioning of the shoot-to-kill policy for terrorists and confusion over the party’s approach on austerity“.

Should Corbyn stay as Leader?

If Corbyn remains leader at the next general election, about two-thirds of Corbyn voters (in the leadership contest) think Labour will win the election as do one-fifth of those who backed other candidates. Fifty-seven per cent of the leadership electorate think Corbyn should lead Labour into the election (82% of Corbyn voters and 20% of non-voters), another 20% that he should continue for now but step down before the election (12% of Corbyn voters and 32% of non-voters). This means that even a majority even of those that did not vote for Corbyn think he should carry on as leader at least for now.

This is just as well since the most popular candidates to replace Jeremy Corbyn should there be another election are those who have just been overwhelmingly rejected – Andy Burnham (with 21% backing from those who voted last time) or Yvette Cooper (14%).  Trailing especially badly were the two names most mentioned to succeed, Hilary Benn (5%) and Tom Watson (3%). Others included were Chuka Umunna (8%), Dan Jarvis (8%), David Miliband (4%), Stella Creasy (2%), Angela Eagle (1%). Those who want Corbyn to step down were no more decisive.

Is it more important to back policies we believe in or ones that we support?

Party members/supporters were also asked to choose between two statements suggesting it was better if a major political party puts forward policies either:

(A)  that allow it to win an election and put them into practice, even if it means compromising on some of their policies; or

(B)  that it really believes in, even if the policies are unpopular and prevent the party from winning an election.

On this issue, most members (54% to 33%) and registered/affiliated supporters (60% to 29%) argued for policies they believed in over those designed to win, rising to 71% (versus 15%) for those who’d voted for Corbyn. Others members backed policies to win by varying degrees – Burnham by 50% to 40%, Yvette Cooper by 58% to 29% and Kendall by a whopping 75% to 13%. On this, however, unlike on some policy issues, Corbynistas are closer to the Labour voters (who favour policies the party believes in by 51% to 21%) than other candidates’ supporters.

As to whether Corbyn has compromised his principles too much or too little, his own supporters think not by 85% to 10% and a majority of Burnham (60%) and Cooper (53%) backers agree though with large minorities thinking he has not moderated his views enough as do 70% of Kendall supporters.

On austerity

The poll shows that 86% of Labour members/supporters back the switch to opposing austerity. What is truly remarkable, however, is that this feeling is just as strong amongst Burnham and Cooper backers. Even 70% of Kendall backers now oppose austerity.

On social security

Jeremy Corbyn’s line on opposing benefit reductions is less uniformly backed. Most party members strongly oppose stopping housing benefit for the under 25s, with Kendall supporters being the least opposed though still with two-thirds against as with Labour voters.

On limiting child benefits and tax credits to 2 children, two-thirds of members are opposed, almost three-quarters in the case of Corbynistas and the majority of Burnham and Cooper supporters. Only Kendall supporters support this restriction, and slightly more strongly so than Labour voters.

On capping benefits at £26,000 per year, only a small majority of members are opposed. The full details are in the table below.

[table id=34 /]

On the EU

Party members are overwhelmingly in favour (80% to 12%) of remaining in the EU, more so than Labour voters (66% to 18%), with Corbynistas (77% to 14%) and, oddly, Kendall backers (78% to 16%) being very slightly less so. Members (especially Corbynistas) are also less enthusiastic about campaigning in support of their preference though, with a significant minority preferring to stay neutral.

On War in Syria

On Syria, party members oppose bombing, Corbynistas more so, Cooper supporters are equivocal and others support. All (except Corbynistas who are equally opposed) are more opposed to sending in ground troops with only Kendall supporters supporting that (unlike Labour voters – even voters in general are pretty equivocal). Full details in the table below.

[table id=35 /]

It is interetsing that on all these and other issues, party members are in favour of a free vote.

On mandatory reselection

In an act of mischief, YouGov also asked members/supporters about the issue of reselection contests for sitting MPs: by a majority of 52% to 39%, they favour an automatic reselection in every parliament over just when the MP “fails badly or is very unpopular”. Support for automatic reselection rises to 62% amongst Corbynistas.




  1. Susan says:

    “increased from 59% to 66%”

    As only full LP members were asked, shouldn’t this be “increased from 49% to 66%”? The 59% covered £3 voters, unions etc. Quite a big increase in support from full party members, reflecting new members of course.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      The 66% covered supporters too – the poll covers all those that voted

      1. Susan Parry says:

        I didn’t realise, thanks. Would be interesting in that case to know what percentage of the 66% are actually full members now and what % have left the party since. Will look at the detail.

  2. Verity says:

    Even more remarkably is that this increasing support has been achieved against media coverage only, since party organisations (including Momentum for the most part) have taken no or little part in providing counter information / arguments to challenge the, ‘we know best’, ‘Top-Downer’, entitled ones. Surely do need to reverse this area of blatant neglect.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      “We ?”

  3. David Ellis says:

    Of course the support has grown as the New Labour wreckers have worked hand in hand with the Tory press to try to discredit Corbyn. In actual fact there is a growing frustration with Corbyn not because he is saying radical things that somehow make labour unelectable as the right wing claim but because he is ditching principles in favour of party unity. The problem is this: if the Corbynistas don’t start de-selecting New Labour MPs the general public who see them as a thoroughly unelectable toxic brand will and party unity so-called will have cost us the 2020 General Election.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      The nomination of Jim McMahon, been the kiss of death for my own lingering support for Labour; (typically,) another, political ambulance chaser and all round chancer and basically a right wing Tory who moved here, (to Oldham,) 10 years ago right after the riots and is on record as disliking disabled people and people on benefits etc…..

      Not someone I’d want as my MP, so I won’t be voting for him, (not that that will make blind bit of difference,) but who else was there really?

      As for Momentum Ltd pouring in people from outside the borough, “to help,” they’ll probably be about as welcome here as the British National Party were 10 years ago, who did exactly the same thing and for the same reason, (“to help.”)

      Reading these comments here and elsewhere, I think that the whole Corbyn thing is now pretty much dead in the water and that anyway he’s, (Corbyn,) not even really socialist anyway, just another bloody Liberal Democrat and we all know what happened when they got a whiff of power, influence and rich malodorous reek of the Westminster trough, it cost us what was left of the NHS and that was just for starters.

      The real left are still well outside the Labour party, who seem determined to keep us here, but we’re kind of used to that by now and anyway as the last 2 general elections have demonstrated indisputably Labour probably need us far more than we really need them.

      1. James Martin says:

        Thanks for letting us know that vitally important news. I’m assuming you will now not be bothering to lecture us all again now you are going back to carping on the sidelines with the rest of the ‘real left’?

        1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

          That it ?

          And you still wonder why you keep losing?

      2. Susan Parry says:

        You really don’t want to change the world do you? Stay carping on the sidelines, we’ll do it without you.

        1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

          Yes I can see that happening.

    2. Mukkinese says:

      I think Labour is likely to lose again and lose big in 2020. Look at recent events, for weeks the Tories were on the ropes, but much of the PLP were more interested in attacking their own party, often in the Tory press, than the real enemy, this government.

      And so Osborne was bruised when he could have been wounded, possibly even fatally so, meanwhile Labour is busy fighting itself and proving to the electorate that they are not a viable alternative to the Tories.

      It is always the way with the left. As we see in these comments, those who claim to be the “real left” would be only too happy to see Labour fail and those on the right of the party are actively trying to bring about that failure in the hopes of forcing the membership to ditch Corbyn.

      I despair of the left sometimes, I really do…

      1. Richard says:

        I am a little surprised that you despair of the left whilst recognising that it is the PLP who have been failing to attack the Tories whilst they have been so busy attacking Corbyn, cheered on by the press of course.
        Left and right are relative terms, everybody is to the left of ukip for example, short of a few fascist groupings, but to label the PLP as left kind of stretches the concept for me.
        How about you specify the problem and rather than blame the LP as a whole, whose membership are quite clearly far to the left of the PLP, blame the PLP.
        Don’t lose heart comrade, take heart from the results of the poll above.
        The first priority is to retain power. Next is to change the party rules and structures. Then policies. Then we can really build for 2020 and have something to actually vote for that can bring about change.
        If the PLP continue with their strategy then perhaps we need to act on another result of the poll, 52% of members support mandatory reselection.

        1. Will says:

          What do you mean ” we must retain power” Cameron and Osbourne are in power and busy cutting Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, renewing Trident, bombing Syria etc.

          1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            Yes; but to be fair to them at least Labour still care about the Palestinians and surly that what really matters to most people?

  4. Robert says:

    And what you think Kendall would have got labour elected or Burnham or Cooper, I do not think right now we need New labour, the Tories are doing a pretty good job of being New labour.

    we will see next May if labour has what it takes .

    1. David Ellis says:

      If you are commenting on what I said you have completely mis-read it. Suggest you give it another go.

    2. John P Reid says:

      The results next May,won’t reflect Corbyns leadership, if we lose Glasgow council, overall control in Wales, it won’t be Corbyns fault, any more than Gordon brown should get the credit for Livingstone getting many more votes in 2008 than he did in 2004 or 2012, and if one the other 3 had won, wouldn’t credit/or blame them for next years result, give it till end 2017 if labour have been on 24% in the polls for two years, then maybe

  5. Peter Rowlands says:

    I am surprised that no-one has so far commented on what I regard as the most significant finding in these polls, namely that a majority, and 71% of Corbyn supporters, would rather they have policies they believed in even at the expense of winning elections, as opposed to being prepared to compromise.
    If I felt this way I would join the SPGB. Politics, particularly under our electoral system, is bound to involve compromise. That is why I am happy to support a moderate social democratic programme of the kind that Corbyn is promoting. I believe that if suitably presented such a programme can win for Labour in 2020.But that surely must be the overriding criterion.If it isn’t then what’s the point?

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