Burnham shows small lead in early leadership poll, as voters say they want a leader like Blair

18th June, 2015 1:05 pm

Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham has a small lead in the leadership race with both Labour supporters and the general public, according to new Ipsos-MORI research. Reported in the Evening Standard, the polling also found that of past Labour leaders, the party’s supporters were most keen that the next leader resemble Tony Blair.

A huge 37% of Labour supporters (any of whom are eligible to vote so long as they sign up as a member, supporter, or affiliate) did not appear to show a preference. With don’t knows excluded, the results are:

Andy Burnham 36.5%, Yvette Cooper 31.7%, Liz Kendall 17.5%, Jeremy Corbyn 14.3%

If these results were replicated under the contest’s Alternative Vote system, Jeremy Corbyn would be the first candidate to be eliminated. Andy Burnham would need almost all of Corbyn voters’ second preferences to win outright in the second round, while Kendall would need all Corbyn second preferences in order to reach the third round. Both of these are unlikely, suggesting that the race would be settled in a final run-off between Burnham and Cooper, with Kendall voters’ second preferences determining the victor.

Among the wider public, not just Labour voters, a minority (45%) of voters gave a preference. With those who did not express a preference excluded, the results are:

Andy Burnham 33%, Yvette Cooper 31%, Liz Kendall 25%, Jeremy Corbyn 11%

The only candidate who did better among the general public than Labour voters was Liz Kendall, with Cooper’s support remaining static and Burnham and Corbyn’s bases suffering similar 3 points drops. This indicates that Kendall has so far done a better job of appealing to the general voters than to the party’s core support. However, she remains in third place despite the boost.

At this early stage, name recognition plays a big factor, and the positions seem to roughly correspond to how well-known each candidate is. As voters become more accustomed to each of the candidates, these standings could begin to shift.

The poll also recorded which previous Labour leader voters would most like the next leader to resemble. The Standard reports:

“Some 23 per cent of Labour supporters said they would be more tempted to vote for the party if the next leader resembled him. That was almost three times the eight per cent who chose runner-up John Smith.

Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband were pushed to joint-third place among Labour supporters, followed by Harold Wilson, Clement Attlee and Neil Kinnock.

Among the general public, Mr Blair was also the favourite role model, picked by 19 per cent.”

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