A recent BMG poll conducted on behalf of HuffPost finds that the British public are most likely to choose Sadiq Khan, the current Mayor of London, when presented with a list of potential successors to Jeremy Corbyn.
A representative sample of 1,510 GB adults were asked “If Jeremy Corbyn decided to step down, which of the following Labour politicians, if any, would you prefer to replace him?”. Mr Kahn received the backing of 12% of respondents’, with his nearest competitor, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, on 10%.
The poll revealed that there were no other stand-out candidates, with the next highest on a lowly 4% (Chuka Umunna). Shadow Cabinet front benchers; Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Keir Starmer each polled 3%.
The results certainly do not represent a ringing endorsement for any individual candidate, nor a future Khan leadership bid, with over half of respondents (57%) stating that none of those candidates listed were preferred to take over. A fresh face for the next Labour leadership perhaps?
It also worth noting that polls of this nature tend to favour politicians with high levels of name recognition. Respondents were first asked to select which of the Labour politicians they had heard of, before choosing who they would prefer to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, from a list of all those selected.
Many of the Labour front-bench, even the Shadow Chancellor, have relatively low rates of name recognition – just 44% of Britons stated that they knew who Mr McDonnell was. Sadiq Khan was the most recognised of all the Labour politicians listed, with some 71% of all respondents saying that they had heard of him, which would give him a clear advantage over other potential candidates.
Where candidate’s support may lie?
According to the BMG/Huff Post poll Andy Burnham and Sadiq Kahn are currently the two favourites to replace Jeremy Corbyn at the helm of the Labour Party. The two prominent Labour politicians appeal to different sections of the public. Sadiq Khan leads amongst 18-34-year olds with 18% giving him their backing, whilst Andy Burnham received only 4% of support from this age group. Mr Kahn also gained the support of one out of five (21%) of BME respondents in the BMG/Huff Post Poll, whereas Mr Burnham lagged behind with just 4% support from this group.
However, the BMG/Huff Post poll also revealed that Conservative Party supporters, Leave voters and over the 55s had a preference for Mr Burnham over the Mayor of London. These are all important demographics for the Labour Party to win over if they want to get into government. Yet it is crucial to any leadership bid to win over the party base. Mr Khan had a lead of six points over Andy Burnham among Labour supporters in the BMG/Huff Post Poll.
Should the next Labour Leader be a woman?
The public were even clearer that experience counted for more than gender when thinking about the desirable qualities of the next Leader of the Labour Party. Although the Labour party has never elected a female leader in its 117- year history, the BMG/HuffPost poll showed that a staggering 79% of people agreed with the statement “The next leader of the Labour party should have well-suited experience for the job, regardless of their gender”. Whilst only 3% of thought the next Labour Leader should be a woman irrespective of relevant experience. A further 18% said they weren’t sure if the next leader of the Labour party should be elected mainly on merit or gender.
Another insight from the BMG/HuffPost poll is that the public may be suffering from election fatigue. There have been major national votes every year since 2014, including two Referendums, two General Elections, as well as local, regional and national assembly votes. The poll shows that just 15% of the general public want another general election “immediately” whilst one in five said that they wanted to wait until after UK had formally left the European Union in March 2019. A plurality (30%) said that there should not be any fresh elections until the next one is scheduled, in 2022.
An article based on these polling results, released by the Huffington Post, can be found here
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.
For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.
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Andrew Tromans – Graduate Research Executive