YouGov have released results of a poll of party members today and it includes what is bound to be the first of many polls asking about potential leadership candidates.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Brown wipes the floor with the other names YouGov proposed, getting 57%, with John Reid on 10% and Alan Johnson on 8%. The only currently declared candidate, John McDonnell, manages only 5%, which is one reason that many on the left are not as keen on an immediate vacancy you might imagine.
Perhaps surprisingly, only 12% are as yet undecided. However, the poll only tested a limited range of names and we all know about Davis v Cameron. Equivalent polls on that here, for comparison.
Unfortunately, the deputy leadership question was rather flawed, missing out two all but openly declared candidates in Peter Hain and Jack Straw, so it is hard to say how useful the results are, but the race seems fairly open. If Hilary Benn throws his hat in the ring he has a good chance, with his 27% support giving him a 9-point lead over second-placed Alan Johnson.
The poll asks a range of other questions, and predictably people are already cherry-picking the results for the ones they like – Blair loyalist Stuart Bruce first off the blocks on that one.
The sample size is not big and there are not internals, so this poll comes with a health warning. But interesting results include:
- Blair is perceived as much more right-wing than both party members and Brown; his performance ratings are still good, but Brown’s are far better.
- Members want him to leave before May and set a timetable now, but want him to leave voluntarily; they would blame MPs, not Brown, if he was forced out.
- Charles Clarke has narrowly retained some popularity but other ex-Cabinet Ministers such as Short, Milburn and Blunkett have not. Byers is deeply unpopular.
- Party members oppose the Iraq war, though a significant minority (43%) still support it.
- An overwhelming majority (75%) oppose committing troops to any future conflict with Iran.
There are various other questions, but some of them seem slightly weighted, others are too vague, and others present three options, which usually leads people to pick the compromise middle one.