So Labour List /Survation surveyed 3,835 Labour members between 8th and 13th January 2020 via LabourList’s database. The results are a wee bit of a surprise. The first preferences put Rebecca Long-Bailey in the lead:
- R. Long-Bailey: 42%
- K. Starmer: 37%
- J. Phillips: 9%
- L. Nandy: 7%
- E. Thornberry: 1%
- C. Lewis: 6% (now withdrawn)
Transfers between the change candidates will be important, but clearly this is a blow for those party members that want the party to change course in order to become electable again.
There are other interesting points in the (unweighted) data. The people that took part were voted as follows in 2016: 2073 for Corbyn; 1058 for Smith and 704 didn’t take part. Of those that backed Corbyn in 2016, 23% of those that expressed a view backed Keir Starmer. Meanwhile Rebecca Long-Bailey picked up 66% of the same group.
Those looking for a candidate that will unite the party will be interested in the distribution of preferences. The huge spike for Jess Phillips in the 6th preference column tells us she is the candidate of last resort for a lot of members (50%). Similarly, 27% of members want anyone but Rebecca Long-Bailey. If correct, this may not stop Long-Bailey but it is insurmountable for Jess Phillips.
The challenge for the change candidates is winning of 2nd and 3rd preference votes. For example, for Starmer to win he must maximise votes from Thornberry, Nandy and Phillps (assuming more than Starmer and Long-Bailey reach the one-member-one vote stage). Jess Phillips gives very few preferences to Long-Bailey, but Nandy would transfer 14% after either a second or 3rd round knockout. Starmer needs to go all out to maximise his 1st preferences, but also convince those backing other change candidates to offer up their 2nd and 3rd preferences en masse.
Lastly, whilst 66% of members say they have made up their mind the remaining 34% are undecided. Of these, 35% are tilting towards Starmer whilst 34% are considering Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy is third with a respectable 10%. Reaching out to these members with a positive message about making us electable is key for whoever wins