YouGov has published the results of a poll carried out among what it calls “members of the Labour selectorate” to gauge current feelings about Labour, its policies and leaders – but This Writer is wondering whether the media are being selectIVE about the figures they’re quoting.
YouGov polled 1443 members of the Labour “selectorate” – party members, registered supporters and affilated supporters able to vote in the leadership contest, and people coming back to Labour who didn’t support the party in the general election – and the tables break the results down by various categories, as well as comparing what the “selectorate” thinks with the views of Labour voters and GB adults generally.
It’s also worth paying attention to a VP commenter who wrote today (November 24): “My experience is that YouGov carefully choose who they will ask. This means one is not invited to take part in some polls as YouGov are pretty sure of your answer, and they don’t want a rusult that will upset their sponsor.” The sponsor in this case is the Tory-supporting Times newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch.
The Graun focused on the figures for Labour members “for simplicity’s sake”. That’s all very well, but isn’t the effect on the wider public also interesting? Surely it is more important at a time when opponents of the Corbyn leadership are briefing against him in the right-wing press, in an attempt to turn public opinion against a leader who was elected with an overwhelming mandate?
So, for example, while the number of Labour members who think Corbyn is doing well totals 66 per cent, isn’t it more interesting that 74 per cent of those polled, who didn’t vote Labour in the general election, also think he is doing well?
Corbyn is unlikely to become prime minister, according to half of Labour members – but that opinion is reflected by only 40 per cent of people who didn’t vote Labour in the election. Does this indicate that “floating” voters are floating in Corbyn’s direction? Remember, it’s early days yet.
And the answer to the very next question is fascinating. If Corbyn remains Labour leader, only 41 per cent of Labour members think Labour won’t win the election. It’s basically the same question as the last – Corbyn would still become prime minister – but nine per cent fewer people thought Labour would lose. What does that tell us? Almost 2/3 of people who voted for Corbyn – 64 per cent – said Labour would win, along with 57 per cent of people who didn’t vote Labour in the general election – another shift towards Corbyn.
The Graun points out that, among those who voted for non-Corbyn candidates in the leadership contest, 79 per cent think Corbyn is unlikely ever to become prime minister. Isn’t that to be expected? Isn’t that why Labour intolerants – sorry, sorry, ‘moderates’ – are briefing against him in the press, rather than taking concerns through the proper channels – to increase this likelihood?
Should Corbyn lead Labour into the next election? 56 per cent of Labour members said yes, alongside a whopping 76 per cent of those who didn’t vote Labour at the last election.
Asked who should replace Corbyn if he did step down, it is significant that more Labour members said they didn’t know (16 per cent) than supported anybody except Andy Burnham. His lead, with 19 per cent, disappears when the votes of those who aren’t full members is considered (19 per cent of them didn’t know either), and is annihilated when the votes of those who didn’t support Labour at the election are taken into account (24 per cent of them didn’t know).
On policy, the ‘moderates’ take a hammering. These are the people who have repeatedly claimed that Labour must put forward policies that are designed to win elections, no matter whether they correspond with their own principles or those of the party as a whole. Only 32 per cent – less than a third – of everybody polled agreed with them. 56 per cent said it is better for a major political party to put forward policies it really believes in – rising to 67 per cent of those who didn’t vote Labour in May.
To This Writer, such a result indicates that a party that believes in the policies it puts forward won’t lose elections – as suggested by the question. People prefer politicians they can trust not to tell lies.
The response to the next question also wipes out the Corbyn-haters. Asked if he had moderated his personal opinions since he became leader – against a background of media critics and Labour ‘moderates’ claiming he has u-turned left, right and centre – a clear majority said he had not done so, in all polled groups.
So the propaganda war against Corbyn is a total failure – and is in fact increasing his support base, rather than encouraging people to desert him.
However, a clear majority also believes the Shadow Cabinet is divided – 79 per cent. Considering the level of support for Corbyn, this can only indicate disapproval of the Labour MPs who have been briefing against him in the media – and, sure enough, 55 per cent of members blame MPs opposed to Corbyn for the division, rising to 69 per cent of those who didn’t support Labour in the general election (the people Labour needs to recapture).
The next question referred to the reselection issue. Some Corbyn supporters have been criticised over their demands for his critics to be deselected, due to what they see as clear betrayals of the Labour leader and the party as a whole (the argument is that any public display of dissent encourages people to think Labour is split and is not capable of forming a strong government). Should MPs be made to seek re-selection before every election, or should this happen only if they haven’t done “a reasonable job”?
Answer: Full party members, “not full members”, Corbyn supporters and those who didn’t support Labour in the election demanded re-selection procedures; supporters of the other candidates in the leadership contest disagreed. What does that tell you about Corbyn’s critics? Doesn’t it say they want to avoid the democratic judgement of their constituency parties?
Asked to define attributes they associate with Mr Corbyn, the majority of all those polled said he was principled, honest, courageous and shared their political outlook. Labels such as “deluded”, “indecisive”, “weak” or “untrustworthy” were comprehensively rejected.
But it is true that few were willing to commit when asked whether he would lead Labour to victory or defeat, with only around 30 per cent supporting either suggestion.
What we’re seeing, in a nutshell, is a Labour leader who has the support of the majority of Labour members – and is winning over those who did not vote Labour at the last election.
This group is by far the most enthusiastic about Mr Corbyn’s leadership, indicating a huge influx of new or returning Labour voters who have been energised by the Corbyn leadership.
Contrast this with what YouGov’s Peter Kellner said about the poll: “Mr Corbyn’s supporters seem to know that they they are out of touch with the wider public, but don’t mind.”
Not true. The more the public knows about Corbyn, the more the public supports him.
That is what Kellner’s own poll suggests – and a weak attempt at spin can’t erase it.
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