Smith leads among pre-2015 members
Jeremy Corbyn is on course to win the Labour leadership with 62 per cent of the vote — an even greater share than last year’s 59.9 per cent — according to a new YouGov poll for The Times.
This is the first poll of the Labour leadership selectorate and the 24-point margin (excluding don’t knows) will come as a major blow to the Owen Smith campaign.
The results also show the depth of the divisions between different segments of the Labour Party. Notably, 68 per cent of members who joined before May 2015 support Owen Smith.
However, 450,000 people have joined Labour since then and, despite the NEC’s decision to exclude those who have joined since January, Corbyn is in the lead in all voting segments — full members, registered supporters and union affiliates.
Inevitably, this has led many commentators to discuss the possibility of a centre-left breakaway, with 39 per cent of those polled expecting the party to split after the leadership election.
If that happens, 23 per cent of Smith supporters say they would join the breakaway group. But even if it doesn’t, 29 per cent of his backers say they will leave the Labour Party if Corbyn wins.
However, these people appear to be motivated by opposition to Corbyn, rather than any great enthusiasm for Smith.
The challenger’s campaign will be worried by the news that just 33 per cent of those who intend to vote for him, and 12 per cent of the overall selectorate, believe that he can win the next general election.
This is a severe blow to a campaign built on a guarantee of electability.
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