Poll of Labour councillors gives Corbyn 1% lead

Published: 10 September 2015 at 09:00

Jeremy Corbyn (photo courtesy of revolutionbahrainmc)

A new poll of Labour councillors gives Jeremy Corbyn a narrow lead in the race to become the next leader of the Labour Party - but only 20% believe he can win the 2020 General Election.

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The poll, carried out by the Labour History Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin University, surveyed 250 Labour councillors in marginal constituencies across the UK between 31 August and 3 September.

Unlike recent polls of all eligible voters which show a clear advantage for Corbyn, the MP for Islington North only has a 1% lead amongst Labour councillors.

In the Labour History Research Unit poll, Corbyn received 30% of councillors' first preference votes, closely followed by Yvette Cooper (29%) and Andy Burnham (28%). Liz Kendall received only 13% of first preference votes.

Although only 20% believe that Corbyn could win the 2020 General Election, the councillors are in favour of many of his policies, particularly around renationalising key services.

His plan to create a regulated and publicly-run service to deliver energy supplies is backed by 78% of councillors who either "strongly agree" or "agree" with the policy, while 77% support nationalising the railway network as soon as practicable.

Introducing a 50p top rate of income tax is backed by 79% of councillors, while 73% agree with a "mansion tax" on homes worth over £2million.

However, only 43% are in favour of scrapping the Trident nuclear deterrent and just 9% of councillors share Corbyn's enthusiasm for withdrawing from NATO.

Dr Richard Carr, Lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "With Jeremy Corbyn on the verge of victory it is clear that a belief in 'Corbynomics' runs beyond the man himself and into the Labour grassroots.

"The bookies' favourite will find clear support amongst Labour councillors for his stances on railway nationalisation, intervening in the energy market, and a higher top rate of tax.

"But with only two in 10 councillors believing Corbyn will win a 2020 General Election, he clearly has work to do.

"In particular, his anti-Trident and anti-NATO lines are viewed as electorally risky by Labour activists in key marginals.

"With four in every five votes Labour need to win in 2020 coming from those who voted Tory last time round, Corbyn's credentials in this regard remain to be seen. When Labour only talks to the left, it rarely wins elections."