Can YouGov repeat its Tory leadership magic?

Can YouGov repeat its Tory leadership magic?

Could a Labour poll transform the betting?

The big gap for punters on this race is a poll of those entitled to vote in September’s election. I was half expecting one for the Sunday Times last weekend and maybe we’ll see something tomorrow.

I’ve had no indication that such a survey is taking place and if a Labour or a trade union member has been invited to take part in such a poll then it would be great if you could let us know.

So far all the money that’s been wagered has been based on “feel” and “instinct” rather than hard polling data from a proper pollster. Punters are currently betting blind.

We need a poll that replicates the process that the three electorates will go through – listing the candidates in preference order. It’s here where the online firms have an advantage over the phone pollsters.

If this was a Tory race you’d almost bet your house on YouGov – for remarkably in both the 2001 and 2005 contests the pollster’s final surveys of party members came within one percent of the actual outcome.

In those elections, of course, the final party members’ ballot was confined to the two who emerged from the voting amongst party MPs. With Labour we have three separate segments of the electoral college, the AV voting system, and five runners.

YouGov’s only experience of Labour electoral system is limited to the 2007 deputy race when its final survey took place before the Newsnight candidates’ debate and, crucially as it turned out, before trade union publications had been circulated to members giving their backing to John Cruddas.

Then it didn’t ask for a full preference order – this time I suspect it will. Whatever a YouGov poll of the party membership and TU electorates will change the whole dynamic of the contest.

Mike Smithson

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