Jeremy Corbyn is going to sweep the Labour leadership.  Again.

Jeremy Corbyn is going to sweep the Labour leadership. Again.

There was never much doubt that Jeremy Corbyn would win the Labour selection to keep his title as the party’s leader.  Owen Smith’s chances of victory in the bookies rarely topped 16%, though there had been a steady but slow rise in his fortunes.

But a few days ago, YouGov released a poll which shook the Labour contest, its candidates, and those following it.  In one day, Owen Smith’s chances went from 17% down to 12%.

The poll puts Jeremy Corbyn at a massive lead – even more than most observers expected.

Here at Polling Digest, it’s our aim to give our readers and followers a digested analysis of polls, so that’s what we’ll do here.  Below are 10 key conclusions to draw from that explosive Labour poll:

1.       Jeremy Corbyn is set to win big.  The current headline voting figures put Smith at 35% and Corbyn at 57%, while 8% of the respondents – who were members of the Labour selectorate – said they didn’t know.  When the ‘don’t know’ responses are factored out, Jeremy Corbyn attains 62% of the voters’ preferences, while Owen Smith receives only 38%.  This gives Corbyn a 24-point lead.

2.       This highlights the difference between the Labour selectorate and the rest of the country.  Though 46% of voters eligible to vote in the general election said they didn’t know who they prefer, they do give Smith a lead over Corbyn – 28% versus 26%.  And while they overwhelmingly are of the opinion that Jeremy Corbyn is doing poorly as Labour leader (23% said he was doing well compared to 58% not), the Labour selectorate begs to differ.  57% of the Labour selectorate say Corbyn is doing well in his job compared with 41% saying he is not.

3.       Jeremy Corbyn’s stronghold is in registered supporters, not full members.  Despite winning in the ‘full member’ category quite easily (52% for him versus 40% for Owen Smith), his clearest advantage is amongst registered supporters, who give him a huge 45-point lead over the challenger.  70% of registered supporters would vote for Corbyn, with only 25% saying they would vote for Owen Smith.  And naturally, those who joined the party in some capacity after Corbyn’s election to the leadership in September 2015 are more supportive of the leader than those who joined prior to the May 2015 general election.  The table for these groups is below:

Period joined

Voting intention

Before May 2015

Owen Smith: 62%

Jeremy Corbyn: 29%

Don’t Know: 9%

After September 2015

Owen Smith: 13%

Jeremy Corbyn: 81%

Don’t Know: 6%

This does, perhaps, fit the narrative that Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are associated with the Labour party primarily for the sake of the leader, and aren’t traditional ‘Labour people’.

4.       Corbyn’s seen as very principled by the Labour selectorate.  76% say he’s principled, and 64% say he is honest.  25%, though, say he’s weak.

5.       But they don’t think he’ll win the election.  Only 33% think he will, though that’s a lot higher than the general electorate (9%) or 2015 Labour voters (13%).

6.       People don’t think much of Owen Smith at all.  Whatever they think about him, people had clear opinions about Jeremy Corbyn.  His ‘don’t know’ ratings were only 1-2%.  For Owen Smith, though, that goes to 8-10%.  What’s more, 50% of the Labour selectorate did not identify any of a long list of positive attributes with Owen Smith.

7.       Smith’s call for a second referendum isn’t a daft idea, but it’s not a good one.  A popular strategy in Camp Owen is to create a coalition of Labour supporters who are passionate Remainers and who feel aggrieved at Jeremy Corbyn’s performance in the EU referendum.  This has been touted as genius by Smith’s backers and idiocy by Corbyn’s supporters, but the truth is that it’s neither.  It is, for one thing, correct to say that Remain supporters are less sold on Corbyn than are Leave supporters.  In the Remain group, Corbyn’s lead is 15 points, whereas in the Leave category, it is 60 points.  What’s more, a surprising 54% of the Labour selectorate support another EU referendum.  Clearly, then, there is some constituency for Smith’s strategy.  However, there are two big problems with it.  Firstly, that 54% is not already pre-disposed not to like Jeremy Corbyn.  Given his overwhelming popularity overall, it is eminently possible that a large percentage of that 54% support Corbyn anyway.  And second, this opinion is hugely unpopular in the country at large – garnering a 20-point opposition – though Smith probably hasn’t thought that far…

8.       Trident is a key difference between Smith’s voters and Corbyn’s voters.  And Smith’s supporters - 54% of which would like to see Trident renewed – are far closer to the country than Corbyn’s supporters.  46% of all voters want to see Trident renewed, while only 7% of Jeremy Corbyn’s voters do.  And while only 21% of all voters want Trident to be scrapped, the policy is supported by 70% of Labour members and affiliates voting for Corbyn.

9.       Smith-voting Labour members are more likely to stick with Labour than Corbyn-voting members.  In the event their candidate loses, respondents were asked whether or not they’d leave the party.  Smith’s supporters clearly said no, by a margin of 58% to 29%, while Corbyn’s supporters were more reticent, with 52% saying they’d stay and 36% saying they’d leave.  However, when explicitly provided with the option of setting up another party, over half (54%) of Corbyn’s supporters said that if Jeremy did not win the Labour leadership election, they would leave Labour for the new party.  Only 45% of Smith’s supporters said the same.

10.   Corbyn’s supporters like mandatory reselection.  No surprises there, then.  With the PLP becoming a lightning rod for Corbyn supporters and mandatory reselection being a well-established trope of the Bennite left, it comes as no surprise that 69% of the Labour leader’s voters support the policy, with only 23% not supporting it.  Owen Smith’s supporters – again, unsurprisingly – do not support the measure, with 77% saying ‘no’ and 15% saying ‘yes’.

Well, that’s it.  We hope you’ve enjoyed this and have taken away some new nuggets you hadn’t heard before.  The trouble with most news outlets is that they can’t be bothered to get stuck into the detail to find the interesting points, and that’s something we do here at Polling Digest.  So, if you like this article and like what we do, please share this article on Twitter!

State of the Union: OK

State of the Union: OK

Voting Intentions: ICM

Voting Intentions: ICM