First poll shows Labour leadership contest remains wide open

10th May, 2015 12:53 pm

The last thing Labour supporters probably want to do after the last week is look at opinion polls, but Survation have released the first voting intention poll post election, and it’s a further reminder of how far from Downing Street the party currently stands:

CON 40%; LAB 31%; UKIP 12%; LD 6%; SNP 5%; GREEN 3%; OTHER 2%

Survation also asked “Out of the following, who do you think should be the next leader of the Labour Party?” And they indicate that the contest remains wide open.

Among the general population the results read as follows:

Andy Burnham 14.1%, Chuka Umunna 12.2%, Yvette Cooper 11.2%, Dan Jarvis 6.2%, Tristram Hunt 6.0%, Liz Kendall 5.1%, Rachel Reeves 4.2%, Don’t know 40.8%

Andy Burnham, who’s been shadow health secretary for the the past 5 years, has received the highest proportion of the vote among the general public but only by 1.9%. What these results actually seem to suggest is that most people aren’t sure which candidate they’d prefer. This could be for a number of reasons – perhaps because none have officially declared or laid out their vision for the party. Or for some, such as Dan Jarvis, they aren’t as well known as some of the other names on this list.

Among Labour voters, the rankings are very similar:

Burnham 20.9%, Umunna 16.2%, Cooper 13.1%, Jarvis 7.7%, Reeves 6.4%, Hunt 5.4%, Kendall 4.5%, Don’t know 25.8%

However, the don’t know proportion of the vote is lower. This makes the difference between the front runners a little bigger. It also means that some of those candidates who perhaps aren’t as recognisable among the general public do a little better, presumably because they are known by party members. Interestingly however for others such as Hunt, they do a little worse.

first eladership candidates poll

It’s also worth noting, that when Survation included David Miliband in the list of names, he came out on top with 17.5% of the general public and 23.8% of Labour voters choosing him. But he’s unable to stand as he isn’t an MP.

A maximum of six candidates can be nominated – the reality is that it will probably boil down to just three or four. We’ll keep you updated as and when candidates announce…

Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Bill Munsie

    Not being an MP hasn’t stopped Jim Murphy.

    • g978

      Fair point and he has time to get a seat during the next parliament. This must sting Ed that his brother is being lauded so much.

      • Bill Munsie

        My point about Jim Murphy was not exactly meant as an endorsement, just the opposite.

    • Aaron Golightly

      Leader of the Scottish Labour party isn’t really a proper role yet, is it? Murphy planned to sit in Westminster while more and more decisions were taken in Scotland. Even if Murphy was elected on Thursday being Scottish Labour leader wouldn’t have been much more than a name-badge. For the position to have any credibility the leader of the Scottish Labour party must be in the Scottish Parliament

      • Bill Munsie

        Leader of the Scottish Labour Party is not a proper role? Says it all really. Scottish Labour had its chance to elect an MSP and rejected it. If Jim is hanging on hoping to be elected as a MSP I guess he is even more deluded than I thought.

        • Aaron Golightly

          It wouldn’t have been a proper role if the occupier of it was sitting in Westminster. The leader of the Scottish Labour party needs to be in Holyrood on the front line not sitting on the front bench nodding in agreement with his or her leader during PMQs

        • Moominpause

          You obviously weren’t thinking hard enough then 🙂

  • Dan

    Surprised to see Jarvis doing so well already considering the top three were all very high profile front benchers during the last five years.

  • vincethur

    I think after the mess the polls made of the election, ill ignore this.

  • Aaron Golightly

    As a party we need to decide if we want a leader who’ll tickle our belly but ultimately lose elections or one that challenges the comfortable left-wing orthodoxy who might win them. Much of the Labour movement has become far too comfortable in its own rhetoric. Whoever the new leader is I think like Kinnock, Smith and Blair we need someone who will challenge the party from within not stroke it on the head and reassure it everything will be okay in the end.

    • Gareth Andrew Coleman

      Left-wing orthodoxy? There was nothing particular left-wing about the Labour Party that went into this election. Besides, people don’t think in left and right. they voted Tory (although actually most people didn’t) because they saw two parties which they perceived to be the same, one which was ideologically inconsistent and blurred with a weak leader, and the other which was more consistent and had a strong leader. And they chose the latter. Going back to the centre will just blur the lines further.

      Public ownership is very popular with the public. If we went with an anti-austerity and pro-public ownership, with a strong leader, it would clearly show the parties are different. It would win back the left vote, as well as the ‘red-UKIP’ voters in the north and appeal to Scottish voters, who care clearly more left leaning. And if we present public ownership as ‘British services and industries owned by British people’ that will play into the English nationalism. Add federalism/local devolution, that will appeal to nationalist-leaning voters in Scotland, Wales and England. That is the way to go.

      • Aaron Golightly

        I’m not so sure. A leader hasn’t won an election from the base of their party since 1987 and even she didn’t last the full term. John Major was very much on the liberal/left-wing of the Tory party and won in 1992. Blair was to the right of ours and won 3 consecutive polls the latter two against Hague and Howard, two men grounded in the right of theirs. Cameron is to the more liberal end of the Tory wing as opposed to Miliband who is really grounded pretty much on the left of the PLP. Whether he’s left wing compared to the rank and file and their aspirations isn’t really relevant. He was comparatively perhaps the most left-wing leader since Foot in the eyes of the wider electorate.

        I don’t think as a party we can ignore the general pattern of the leaders who are somewhat adrift from his party’s core base, usually wins. Or at least this has been the case for the last 28 years. Labour needs to be led from the right of the party to make us electorally acceptable and the Tories need to be led from the left to achieve the same aim. It might not be what many of us want but surely this election must hammer home the point sometimes pragmatism trumps ideology.

        • A bit of common sense

          I thought Labour in the election was right-wing? Blaming immigrants (those pledge mugs!!! Ugh!) and people on benefits and signing up to an austerity agenda of cuts to services to those most in need, capped off with resolute support for Trident do not strike me as the policy of a left-wing party. Many people in the run up to the election were calling Labour Red Tories!

  • Kenneth Watson

    massive voter volatility may lie beyond and defy some boundaries of analysis,not that theres any real reflection yet anyway

  • Sugarcube

    Seriously relying on the polls…enough already. For once, lets allow members to vote and then accept their vote.

  • EnosBurrows

    Why is Dan Jarvis name even under discussion?

    Frankly it all looks a bit like insertion of “”Harold Saxon” into the narrative of British politics in a season of Doctor Who a few seasons ago.

    • Dan

      Why shouldn’t he be? Don’t think anyone has officially declared yet.

  • Aaron Golightly

    Burnham would make a strong deputy but I’m not sure he’d be sufficiently centrist enough to convince the voters he’d need to convince if he’s going to successfully challenge the Tories in England.

  • NT86

    Dan Jarvis as leader and Liz Kendall as deputy would be decent. I know those on the left will talk about Kendall being a Blairite, but it’s worth mentioning that Tony Benn once opined that a party needs strong left and right wings.

    Keep Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt away. Too gaffe prone and arrogant. Burnham and Cooper are perhaps too associated with the past and have had their time.

    • Pete

      I’m inclined to the right of the party, so I’d prefer a right-inclined leader. But I absolutely agree with your Tony Benn reference. Australian Labour has a tradition of electing a leader and deputy from each ‘wing’ of the party; whilst I don’t think that should be a hard and fast rule (let the voice of the members speak and all that), I do think it’s a good idea in this election. Preferencing one wing, or even trying to awkwardly balance them as Ed did, won’t work – it just isn’t enough. We need a leadership team that will harness the talent of the whole party and try to reconcile us towards a common, radical and progressive vision for the future of the country.

  • ColinAdkins

    Stop this nonsense now. Let us appoint a caretaker leader. Are you seriously telling me between 4 and 14 per cent know who some of these characters are? I could go in my local Tesco with their picture and there will be a recognition factor of between 1-2 per cent for most.

    • Ed

      I was thinking the same thing Colin. Dan Jarvis 6.2%, Tristram Hunt 6.0%, Liz Kendall 5.1%, Rachel Reeves 4.2%, among the general population? Fine people I am sure but not household names. Maybe that does not matter, but I would take care about basing anything on polls. I have just listened to someone say ‘Labour got the wrong Milliband’ – like anyone knows who David Milliband was and how he was different to Ed. I could not really have told you and I am interested in politics. The problem going forward is that Labour is not full of big characters who I think can connect with ordinary people. They just talk to each other.

    • NT86

      Isn’t Harman stepping in as caretaker leader?

      Your second point is interesting, although who really knew David Cameron or Nick Clegg when they were first elected as party leaders?

      • ColinAdkins

        Good point about Harman. The point I was making was that I am questioning these polls (and probably will end up with egg on my face!).

  • Les

    The initial qualification for any potential leadership contender is that he/she just be sterile or untainted by Blair or Brown. The second qualification should be that the contender must not be a career politician – this again disqualifies some.

    Think about it – if Burnham gets it we will forever be talking about Mid Staffs. Chuka is associated with the current regime.

    Jarvis will be a breath of fresh air. He has an excellent back story and will in my view provide us with the fresh start that we need.

    • Paul Richardson

      If Dan IS the man then he needs to get out there now with a big splash. He is untainted but also unknown and likely to fall away with single figure %s. Something fresh like a genuine debate-the-public event (not a sterile lab activist audience). Needs to lay his credentials on the table and shout as loud as he can, “I’m your guy!”. Otherwise, he will stay anonymous and fall away.

  • Marco

    Oh for god’s sake leave it out with the polls, would you? Give us a break.

    • A bit of common sense

      Yes, but the credibility of polls having just been completely destroyed does not stop the political wonks and spinners from going on about them for their own ends.

      Mind you, better keep the New Labourites out. Every time Blair opens his mouth 5000 more people join the Greens. The Greens are on a high and busy organising, not worrying about triangulating to get good headlines in the Torylaugh or the Daily Hate. If New Labourites take over the leadership, the very large number of members who are only in Labour because they feel it is the only realistic vehicle for progressive change will decamp to Natalie Bennett’s party.

      • Derek Barker

        Very sensible post. What chance did Ed ever have with so many labour people kicking the hell out of him so soon.Chilcot enquiry release soon, Tories on a mandate to cut, cut, cut,the continuation of the bedroom tax and the likihood of more tax cuts for the top 1% as labour is now expected to cheer Cameron on.Me thinks the coalition against austerity will shine through as the Tories rip themselves apart over Europe,in around 7 months time or so people wont be talking about a new labour leader, it will be the SNP, Greens and PC who will champion the peoples thoughts.

        • A bit of common sense

          A great fear. What can you get for a second hand red rosette, one careful owner?

          • Derek Barker

            LoL! not a lot.Did the English electorate really vote infavour of more cuts? and if the fear of a coalition between SNP and labour was a factor, Murphy done more to create that fear than Cameron.Get a union badge on, it’s about to go ballastic and the trade unions can’t keep silent no longer!!!!!!

  • A bit of common sense

    Looks like Don’t Know is a shoe in for the next Labour leader.

    • Jimmy Sands


  • James Moore

    One of the difficulties we have is that the Shadow Cabinet is not overburdened by talent. There are too many political insiders, too many intellectual lightweights and too few who have done real jobs outside politics.

    Look back to 1979 and look at the quality of leading figures in the party – Denis Healey, Roy Hattersley, Roy Jenkins, Michael Foot, Shirley Williams, John Smith, Tony Benn, David Owen. Love or loathe them individually you can’t argue about the fact that these were people of real substance.

    Apart from Dan Jarvis, Tristram Hunt and Hilary Benn, I am yet to be convinced as to the wider political and personal abilities of the current crop. I hope some will step up in the next few months and prove me wrong.

    • Bill Filey

      It is a pity David Lammy does not have a national reputation. I have a high opinion of him. He has character, strength and a strong ethical commitment to his task.

  • MikeHomfray

    Its meaningless until we know who is going to stand

  • Cantabs

    The Greens, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and UKIP all have leaders (or acting leaders) outside the House of Commons. I assume there must be something in the Labour constitution that prevents this? If David Miliband is everyone’s favourite, inside and outside the Party, then it would certainly be worth urgently reviewing this constraint … if Labour wants to win in 2020 that is.

    • Shooter_

      Think it has something to do with the Labour leader becoming Leader of the Opposition, though I could well be wrong.

      • Cantabs

        Actually, you could well be right.

        • Shooter_

          I’m not sure David Milliband is worth it.

          • Cantabs

            In view of the uninspiring alternatives, and DM’s popularity even now, I’d say he would be worth it. Shame he’s ruled himself out.


LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends