Labour councillors upbeat but Ed Miliband seen as a hindrance

New polling reveals that Labour councillors are optimistic about 2015 but Ed Miliband viewed as a hindrance.

Ed Miliband ncr 1j

New polling reveals that Labour councillors are optimistic about 2015 but Ed Miliband viewed as a hindrance

Polling released by the Labour History Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin University today reveals that the Labour base is upbeat about the party’s prospects next May, but somewhat wary of the mandate the party will seek at the election.

Surveying over 400 Labour councillors across the party’s 106 target seats and the 50 Labour held seats most vulnerable to a Conservative swing, our polls show over three-quarters of respondents in such marginals believe Labour will emerge as the largest party in 2015.

Though sometimes mocked for its ruthless repetition, there is good news for fans of the ‘cost of living crisis’ agenda too – with over half the total respondents (55 per cent) believing it has made an impact on their local doorsteps.

Councillors are buoyant regarding the electoral maths – by a ratio of four to one, respondents in Labour’s target seats believe that UKIP will take more votes from the Tories than they will from Labour.

This may help account for the 54 per cent of such types who are ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ Labour will win in their seat. It is also reflected in the over six in ten such respondents who think offering a referendum on membership of the EU is a bad idea.

It is not all blind optimism however. In particular, Ed Miliband polls poorly – across the two polls he is more likely to be viewed as a hindrance to the Labour vote than a help (39.4 per cent to 22 per cent).

That said, the case for the defence here may well lie in his big ticket policy pledges – repealing the NHS bill, the energy bill price freeze, and scrapping the bedroom tax – accounting for approaching two thirds of respondents’ views as to what constitutes Labour’s most attractive policy offering to date.

The base, it seems, wants a bolder agenda. Almost eight in ten respondents believe Labour’s policy offering to date has been ‘too timid.’

The recent moves on rail in particular seem to be warmly welcomed. Though our polling took place before last week’s announcements on legislating for a not-for-profit entity to bid for new franchises, we did ask what the likely impact would be of the party ‘openly declar[ing] they will renationalise [expiring] rail franchises if it makes business sense’’ 88 per cent of respondents thought it would have a positive or extremely positive impact on the Labour vote in the target seats.

In terms of other potential new areas, 82 per cent of respondents to both polls combined would back further devolution of powers to local government and adopting the Financial Transaction Tax was deemed to be a potential vote winner by a nine to one margin. The ideas are out there.

And they may still be needed. Our polling suggests that Labour has nailed picking off the easy Lib Dem meat, but have been slower in making inroads into Conservative heartlands. In Liberal Democrat held seats 85 per cent of Labour activists are confident or very confident Labour will gain said seat. But in Conservative held seats the amount of confident or very confident respondents is at a much more modest 45 per cent.

There is much in this polling I would encourage people to take a look at it. On Labour and women voters, doing a deal with Clegg, and the phrase ‘One Nation Labour’ there are some interesting negative statistics. For fans of Andy Burnham, any incumbent Labour MP standing again, or just the overall Labour Party picture, there is also much positive stuff.

This poll is a useful or useless as any other taken in isolation, but as Labour seeks to break the historic cycle of the loss of office producing another defeat a few years later, the findings should hopefully provide some food for thought.

You can view the complete results of the poll here.

Richard Carr is a lecturer at the Labour History Research Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, and a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. He publishes the book One Nation Britain this summer

10 Responses to “Labour councillors upbeat but Ed Miliband seen as a hindrance”

  1. swatnan

    Looks like we’ll all have to put up with Ed being PM by default, whether we like it or not.
    I can live with it.

  2. treborc1

    No thanks.

  3. treborc1

    We will see it’s getting closer.

  4. billbradbury

    I spent the last election as a Labour Cllr. on the “knocker”. Every time they would vote Labour but not for Brown. Without him we would have won the last election.I voted for Ed Miliband because his brother hadn’t the guts to stand. It’s not policies these days but personalities. Ed comes over as a “geek”.

  5. robertcp

    Would you prefer Cameron?

  6. sarntcrip

    I WOULDN’T
    sICK OF HIS DIVIDE AND RULE MENTALITY
    YOU NEVER KNOW IN OFFICE ED MIGHT BE SURPRISINGLY GOOD COULD NOTBE WORSE THAN CAMORON

  7. sarntcrip

    WITH BOTH BLAIR AND CAMERON, WE’VE HAD DISASTROUS VICTORY OF STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE, THE OPINION OF OUR MEDIA ISN’T RELEVANT AS IT’S VER 80% CONTROLLED BY NON CONTRIBUTING NON DOMS HO DON’T HAVE THE NATION’S BEST INTERESTS AT HEART
    OUR NATIONAL BROADCASTER IS DOING WHAT IT’S TOLD FOR FEAR OF LOSING IT’S CHARTER AND INCOME

  8. Dave Roberts

    There are a number of things wrong with this article the first being that it is wishful thinking by a policy wonk. Richard Carr works for or is a lecturer at the LHRU. I don’t know what his antecedence is but I doubt that he has every worked in a factory or on a building site.

    To whom exactly does he lecture and on what? It would seem, on this showing, that he is a Labour functionary who puts the best spin on everything. His poll has been, as far as I can see, entirely of Labour councillors who have enthusiastically endorsed his views. This is as accurate a view of what the average person in the street thinks as a poll of Soviet Communist Party members thought about Stalin during the purges.

    There are a number of glaring omissions in the article. I can’t find the words immigration, white working class, UKIP or any of the issues that are actually being talked about by traditional Labour voters. Even Radio 4 this morning mentioned the white working class, something that would have been impossible a couple of ears ago, we have been rediscovered!

    The other problem that Miliband as that will be used by the Tories is typified b the photo at the top of the article. The man to the left of the picture is Simon Woolley. He was a director of one of the organisations named by Andrew Gilligan in his series of exposures into corruption in the London Development Agency which brought down Lee Jasper and shortly after Ken Livingstone.

    Woolley ran something called Black Londoners Forum which managed to disappear three hundred and twenty thousand pounds of Londoners money. He is also on record as saying all whites are racists as are immigration controls. Miliband and his advisors must be mad to have allowed him to be in the same room as this man and even madder to use this photo.

    I want to see the end of this government as much as anyone else but I despair at the stupidity and arrogance of people like Carr. They will of course continue to receive their salaries whoever is elected next May. Time to get real people, at the moment Labour are going to lose until the white working class are listened to and people like Woolley are ditched once and for all.

  9. robertcp

    I agree.

  10. robertcp

    I agree.

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