How much will Question Time affect the outcome?

How much will Question Time affect the outcome?

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    Was Cruddas the night’s big loser?

The above prices (as at 5am) show the impact of last night’s Question Time programme on BBC 1 featuring all the candidates for Labour’s deputy leadership.

By a long way the big loser on the evening was John Cruddas who has now moved out from about 7/1 with Betfair to the latest 12/1. The Ladbrokes price will almost certainly move out when their offices open this morning.

The comments by Cruddas on his housing and the educational arrangements for his children will not have endeared him to the electorate that he is appealing to.

    But will the programme have that much impact? Haven’t most of those people who will vote in this election done so already?

Certainly the experience of other party leadership postal ballots is that members like to deal with it almost as soon as the mail package arrives with the result that anything that happens in the campaign afterwards is totally irrelevant.

It will be recalled that in the last YouGov poll of party members and trade unionists supporters of John Cruddas said they were more certain to vote than those of any other candidate and, also, that they considered themselves less likely to change their minds. That survey closed the day before the Newsnight debate and the general view after that programme was that Cruddas, the least known of the six, came out well.

What we need is another YouGov survey which, unlike the last one, asks the party members and trade unionists to rank each the contenders in the full 1-6 order like on the ballot paper.

One of the reasons, I believe, why YouGov’s Tory party leadership polls in both 2001 and 2005 were so accurate was that the final surveys took place after many of those who were going to vote already had done so. Thus the surveys were more akin to exit polls.

My betting. My bets are unchanged on Cruddas, Benn and Harman. I have not got anything on the favourite, Alan Johnson, and I’m not tempted to do so at current prices even though he is looking good. I have a feeling that Harman is doing well in the second and third preferences battle. The only thing that will prompt me to risk more money is another YouGov poll.

Mike Smithson

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