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New polls put Jeremy Corbyn’s potential vote ahead of Ed Miliband’s 2015 result

Three new polls published over the weekend have shown Labour’s support climb to 31-2%, higher than the 30.4% Ed Miliband achieved in May 2015.

Two polls, from Opinium and ORB, had Labour’s support on 32%, while a third from YouGov had the party on 31%. In all three polls, the party trailed the Tories by double figures.

Given widespread predictions of a total collapse in the Labour vote, should Corbyn actually deliver more votes than Ed Miliband it would prove hugely embarrassing for those who have attacked him as ‘unelectable’ over the past two years. 

After the intense and in many ways unprecedented media scrutiny Corbyn has faced as leader, the incredible lengths to which his own party has gone to undermine him, the result would be remarkable – even if insufficient to form a government. It would surely prompt the need for much deeper reflections of the party’s situation, the long-term shrinking in its electoral base, and a more serious strategy for renewal than simply shouting ‘Corbyn out’ louder each summer.

It may not only be Ed Miliband that Corbyn outperforms, based on current polling. In fact, Ed Miliband secured more votes in England in 2015 than Tony Blair in 2005, by a small margin, and outmatched Gordon Brown’s 2010 England result by over a million votes. If the polls are to be believed, and Corbyn’s performance matches or improves on the three opinions polls this weekend, he might actually secure more Labour votes south of the border than any of the party’s previous leaders in the last three General Elections.

That said, because of the huge surge in Tory support since the EU Referendum, and the way in which the Labour vote is distributed across the country, the party could still lose a large number of seats. In many Labour-held seats, the UKIP vote, or a chunk of the UKIP vote, being added to the Conservatives’ 2015 result will be enough to take the seat from Labour.

While those on the Left have been pondering a ‘Progressive Alliance’ (a pact which would only work in only a very small handful of seats, at a large cost), in 2017 we may yet be defeated by a ‘Regressive Alliance’ of UKIP-Tory switchers, and UKIP standing down in Labour-held seats.

The gap between Corbyn’s Labour and Theresa May’s Conservatives appears to be propped up largely by UKIP voters abandoning their party to support May, confident in her plans to deliver a Brexit that they want to see.

There are also fears among some Labour supporters that UKIP’s decision not to contest dozens of Labour seats will see almost all their 2015 vote go to the Conservatives. Yet an analysis of UKIP dropping out of seats in local elections in 2013 and 2017 has shown that while their votes tended to go to the Conservatives, they did split between the other parties. The analysis, by Elections Etc, found that on average in the local elections the swing from Labour to Conservatives since 2013 in places where UKIP stood both times was 6.7 points, and in places where UKIP dropped out it was 6.7. In other words, the UKIP candidate dropping out had little to no effect.

Elsewhere this weekend, Emily Thornberry put in a strong performance on Marr, exposing Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon for having attended a reception celebrating Bashar al-Assad’s election in 2007, while Labour have announced £37bn of spending on the NHS over the course of the next parliament, and unveiled a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ to raise revenue from financial transactions and speculation.

Labour have now enjoyed a few good days in the media spotlight. Since the leaking of the party’s manifesto, the ideas have been widely covered in print and broadcast media. The manifesto is simple to explain on the doorstep too. Labour will provide the funds to rebuild the NHS, create a National Education Service from cradle to grave, protect your rights at work and invest in our economy – and we’ll pay for it only by taxing those who earn over £80,000 a year and big corporations.

The task over the next four weeks is to get out on the doorsteps and explain that to as many people as possible.

9 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    It is important to have answers to voters’ concerns. So I have produced a few here and I hope people will make good use of them in this election:

    Example 1:

    Jeremy Corbyn opposes nuclear weapons.

    Most countries in the world do not have nuclear weapons. And, yes, Corbyn did vote against Trident replacement.

    “Our independent nuclear deterrent is not independent and doesn’t constitute a deterrent against anybody that we regard as an enemy. It is a waste of money and it is a diversion of funds. But some people have not caught up with this reality.”

    Michael Portillo, former Conservative Defence Secretary.

    Example 2:

    Theresa May is a strong leader.

    She never tires of telling us this. But a strong leader would hardly need to do this.
    She is certainly not strong enough to debate with other party leaders. She has made that very clear by her refusal to appear.

    Example 3: Jeremy Corbyn is a threat to our security.

    The intelligence services warned that invading Iraq would lead to an increased danger of terrorism. They were right.

    Jeremy Corbyn thought this might happen and voted against the Iraq War.

    By contrast, Theresa May voted for that war. She also did the same thing, with the same disastrous outcome, when it came to Libya.

    Example 4:

    The last Labour government spent too much money and so cannot be trusted to run the economy.

    But the Conservative Party matched Labour’s spending plans when they were in opposition. The economic crisis was actually caused by insufficient regulation of the banks and other financial institutions. In opposition, the Conservatives urged the Labour government to go further in de-regulating them. This would have made the crisis even worse.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1562023/Tories-vow-to-match-Labour-spending.html

    1. Janet Marks says:

      Thanks for this. Have copied this onto the Corbyn 50+ Supporters FB page. Hope you don’t mind.

      1. Tony says:

        I certainly don’t mind!

  2. Laurie Rhodes says:

    Labour hasn’t been so systematically attacked by established power for decades – to be holding its vote is impressive. It suggests a growing awareness from the supporter base that powerful interests have their own agenda in trying to derail support for the party’s direction.

    There is an opportunity for a real surprise with polling. The latest YouGov poll, (based on raw, unweighted data) is the highest percent of support within a sample that Labour has gained over the past three years.

    As weighting compares trends from previous elections to predict voter behaviour, when conditions are fundamentally different the formulas tend to obscure what’s happening.

    Matt Singh also made some interesting points about the impact of “don’t know” respondents in the polls we are seeing (https://www.ft.com/content/e9db20f2-398c-11e7-ac89-b01cc67cfeec). UK election poll’s exclude from their published results those who are still uncertain who they will vote for & with Labour’s upward trend there must be a likelihood of winning over an increased percentage of these people in the weeks to come.

    1. Craig Stephen says:

      You need to subscribe to the FT to view that link.

      1. Laurie Rhodes says:

        sad… it was an open page last night.

        The FT piece suggested that if “don’t knows” were actually included within a poll, they would currently be shown as about 15% of the vote. Labour’s current share of the voter base is currently around 25%… not the “30% of committed voters” that are commonly publicised.

        Matt Singh highlighted that a growing number of people indicating a preference for Labour are showing a stronger commitment to vote Labour – this impacts poll weightings.

        The key element of the article was that “don’t knows” are excluded from representation within most polls although ICM takes them and just adds them to the tally on the basis of the party they voted for in the previous election.

        Both ICM and ComRes calculate the likelihood of respondents voting largely on the basis of their social and economic demographic – not on the basis of what’s said over the phone. All of this reflects what these demographics have done in previous elections.

        … It was a good piece! 🙂

  3. Bazza says:

    Things getting better for Labour but perhaps we need to remind peopl banks crashed the economy 2008 (evidence – Fanny Mae, Lehmans Brothers, Manhatton Chase banks, UK banks fined billions US for role in sub-prime lending US with knock on effect global banking system) and it is only trillions from quantitative easing (electronic printing money) bailed economy out and it has become a policy tool by all – since Referendum result Tories used £80b this way to keep economy going – as Streeck argues rich and powerful haven’t a clue what to do.
    But state led public investment, financial transaction tax, putting more pounds in people’s pockets can grow economy & public ownership!
    Time with Labour o take back control for citizens from Tory Neo-Liberalism!

  4. Steven Johnston says:

    When Labour increases it’s share of the vote, it’s all down to Corbyn!
    When the vote goes down, it’s all the fault of the Blairities.
    Who said the cult of personality only exists in one-party states?

  5. john P Reid says:

    In other news Gordon got more than Michael foot,
    2 things wrong with this,1
    its’ gonna be a low turnout
    2becuase the tories were level pegging I know people who always voted labour who just couldn’t see Ed M ,in No.10 so abstained this time they’re voting labour as they know Jeremy won’t win

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