All the ingredients for Corbyn to lose are there
The Labour leadership contest seems to share a lot of the characteristics of the 2015 general election. We have the overwhelming enthusiastic social media support for a flawed candidate (that might not end up actually casting their vote), shy Tories*, the polls showing only outcome and betting sentiment heavily in favour of the polling outcome.
We’ve only had two public polls on this leadership election and the potential sampling and weighting issues with this particular electorate caused by the large surge in new members/Â£3 members and the purge means we should be very cautious on accepting this polling as being infallible even before we take into account the industry wide polling failure that happened in May.
Everyone in the Labour party seems to preparing for Corbyn to win based on the canvass returns so far but then again a large chunk of the Labour party thought Ed Miliband was going to become Prime Minister on May the 7th based on their canvass returns up until the exit poll came out.
The betting markets aren’t infallible either in the last week of the general election campaign and after the exit poll came out the odds on a hung parliament were shorter than the odds on Corbyn becoming the next Labour leader are now.
Last night The Sun reported thatÂ ‘less than half of the 553,954 eligible to vote in the contest have returned their ballot forms, so far, and members are swinging away from the Corbyn bandwagon after a barrage of damaging revelations about the frontrunner.’ Whilst one candidate told Krisnan Guru-Murthy around 65% had already voted. So of these 35% to 50% of voters who haven’t voted I expect these voters might not break in favour of Corbyn because of the negative stories around Corbyn that we’ve seen in recent days and weeks.
One of Ronald Reagan’s maxims was “If you’re explaining, you’re losing” and it seems to be that every day Corbyn has to explain a past comment or explain why he was meeting such a controversial friend and you have to believe that this will impact negatively on Corbyn’s chances. Also we’ve not had an opinion poll since voting began so we can’t gauge the impact of these stories.
Sometimes you have to trust your instincts. Back in April and May I thought the public especially the English public would never go for Ed Miliband as Prime Minister over David Cameron and I have a similar feeling on this. Look at how poorly Corbyn polls on the supplementaries, ComRes found ‘Corbyn and Kendall have the highest levels of people saying they would not vote for the Labour Party if they were leader (both 58%).’ This feels a lot like the barrage of polls that showed Labour ahead or tied with the Tories in the run up to the general election but the supplementary questions showed the public overwhelmingly preferred David Cameron to Ed Miliband.
Surely the Labour party aren’t going to be this stupid and self indulgent and elect someone who is a throwback to the worst mistakes and excesses of the Labour party in the 1980s?Â Labour supporters want to win general elections and they cannot be prepared to elect the man who they know deep down is the candidate who the Tories are praying Labour elect as leader?
So that’s why I have the nagging feeling Â that like some of the others “manias” we’ve had in British politics that have fizzled out by the time the votes have been cast Corbynmania might join the ranks of Cleggmania and the Milifandom, in nine days time we’re going to find out.
*Judging by some of the comments on social media, anyone in the Labour Party who isn’t backing Corbyn is a Tory, so you can see why supporters of Burnham, Kendall & Cooper might be shy in telling pollsters and others who they really are voting for.