A new poll of Labour supporters and members shows that Jeremy Corbyn has the overwhelming support of party members and registered supporters.
The YouGov poll for The Times shows that 66% of those who were eligible to vote in this summer’s leadership election believe Corbyn is doing “well” as leader – a higher proportion than voted for him in the contest. YouGov conducted polls over the summer of the leadership race, and their final poll in mid-August called the result almost exactly right.
Among those who voted for him, his approval ratings are even higher: 86% believe he is doing a good job. 49% of Burnham voters and 29% of Cooper backers also agree.
Corbyn’s level of support will strengthen calls for Labour MPs to stop publicly criticising the leader. It also shows that, despite rumours of plots among Labour MPs, it would be almost impossible to remove him as leader. Even if they were to somehow get rid of him, it would be as a result of keeping him off the ballot, and the new leader would have a revolting membership to deal with.
There are two other important findings from the poll.
Firstly, it shows that only a minority of Labour members support airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. At the weekend, Corbyn suggested that Labour supporters could take part in indicative online ballots to help shape the party’s positions on a range of issues. That he could rely on members to back him on issues such as this would give him leverage in areas where he is at odds with his MPs.
The 30% of members and supporters who told YouGov they support airstrikes closely mirrors the 32% who said the same in last week’s survey of LabourList readers.
The other major result was that over half of Labour members and supporters are in favour of mandatory reselection for MPs. 52% say they back the move, which would radically alter how candidates are chosen, and could lead to outspoken critics of Corbyn lose their seats. Currently, the rules make it difficult for a current MP who wants to stand again to be removed.
However, Corbyn has spoken out against mandatory reselection, as has deputy leader Tom Watson. That makes it difficult to see where the push would come from to introduce it into the party’s rules.
Not all the polling makes for positive reading. Corbyn’s approval ratings among Labour voters, including those who are not members of registered supporters, is at 56%, while it drops to just 30% among all voters. Support for airstrikes in Syria is almost double among general voters than Labour members, at 58%.
And that’s not the only evidence that Labour members are out of step with voters. A ComRes poll in today’s Daily Mail, meanwhile, shows Labour trailing the Tories by 11 points, by 29% to 40%.
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Barring Corbyn is wholly unjustified. But I hope he won’t stand as an independent