Brown would beat Miliband by 52% – 25%
A YouGov poll of 1,115 Labour members for the Daily Telegraph this morning has found overwhelming support for a leadership contest when Tony decides to call it a day.
A total of 73% said they thought a contest was better against just 11% who thought the Chancellor should get the job unopposed. In such a vote Brown would command 63% with 21% saying they would reject him.
But if a strong candidate such as David Miliband emerged then Brown would win member support by 52% – 25%.
YouGov’s membership polls proved to be extraordinarily accurate in the 2001 and 2005 Tory leadership contests when they got the final outcomes to within 1%.
The difference, of course, is that unlike the Tories and the Lib Dems where the ballots of individual party members are sovereign with Labour they have only got one third of the overall votes in the party’s electoral college.
Members of affiliated trade unions have a third of the power while the remaining third is with MPs.
Labour allows multi-voting so if you are an MP member of an affiliated organisation you can cast your vote several times. In 1994 one person was reported to have had seven different votes.
Quite what impact today’s finding will have is hard to say. While the margin over Miliband is not overwhelming it is certainly big enough to discourage a serious challenge.
There have been widespread suggestions that anybody standing against Gordon would not enhance their career prospects.
In the leadership betting there has been a big move back to the Chancellor who had moved out to 0.32/1 last week. This morning’s price is 0.26/1.
UPDATE 0745: The boss of YouGov, Peter Kellner, has been in touch to state that today’s poll covered BOTH ordinary Labour members and trade unionists who will also have a vote. So two third of the party’s electoral college was covered. The break-down was 589 constituency members of the party and and 662 levy-paying union members. In the survey 136 people belonged to both groups, and will have two votes in the coming leadership and deputy leadership ballots.