Observer story prompts leadership betting moves

Observer story prompts leadership betting moves

    Miliband tightens and Brown eases after reports of Blair’s backing

observer miliband.jpgThis is the front page of the Observer this morning which has led to big changes in the Labour leadership betting.

Tony Blair, according to the paper, is telling allies that if the environment secretary stands against Brown then “he would win”. According to an unnamed minister Blair said of Miliband “he really has got to want it… He really has to go for it.”

The news comes on the same day that the BrandIndex data for the past week shows that Gordon Brown has now replaced Tony Blair as the “most unpopular politician” in the country.

This reinforces yesterdays Populus poll in the Times and Friday’s YouGov survey for the Telegraph about how poorly the chancellor is currently being regarded by voters.

In another move Jack Straw has announced that he will be the campaign manager for Brown’s leadership bid. A week or so ago Straw himself was being tipped as a possible challenger.

So where’s this going to all end? That’s hard to say but if Blair is really giving Miliband the backing that he is reported to be doing then that has to be taken seriously.

For the PM has one massive ace up his sleeve – it will be his statement that triggers the contest and he controls the time-table.

What Gordon needs now is some good poll news and we still await the March IPSOS-MORI and Communicate Research surveys. These should be out during the week.

Mike Smithson

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