Labour councillors want Smith but expect Corbyn

Councillors believe that members and registered supporters will keep Corbyn


Some 60 per cent of Labour councillors in marginal constituencies will vote for Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest, according to new research from Anglia Ruskin University.

In a poll of 350 councillors across 125 constituencies, Smith’s suppoort outstripped Corbyn’s by more than two to one, with just 28 per cent planning to vote for the incumbent leader.

An even greater proportion — nearly 65 per cent — believe that Labour is more likely to win in their constituency under Smith.

‘Our data suggests that Owen Smith’s appeal reaches beyond the Westminster bubble and into committee rooms and Labour council meetings across Britain,’ said Richard Carr, a lecturer in history and politics at the university.

However, the results also indicate that councillors are pessimistic about Smith’s chances, particularly given strong support among registered supporters.

Asked how they believed members in their local areas would vote, nearly 38 per cent said Corbyn, against 28 per cent for Smith.

And when asked the same question about registered supporters, 53 per cent said Corbyn, against just ten per cent for Smith.

Carr commented:

“If Owen Smith is unable to convince a sizeable chunk of £25 registered supporters that he is the man for them, his campaign looks likely to be sunk.

“He might be seen by Labour Party councillors as best placed to connect with the wider electorate and challenge Theresa May, but he’ll need a strong change in the winds to get past Jeremy Corbyn right now.”

Last week, 183,000 people applied to join Labour as registered supporters.

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4 Responses to “Labour councillors want Smith but expect Corbyn”

  1. Ros Jackson

    This is the correct link to that study at Anglia Ruskin:
    I wonder why they chose to survey the most marginal constituencies rather than a random sample of all councillors, and what the difference would be.

  2. CR

    What it comes down to is real Labour vs phoney, pro-capitalism New Labour.

  3. Steve Mizzy

    Are the councillors polled “real Labour”?

    Its a small poll so you have to be cautious about the result, but it does indicate that there is a concern in sections of the party that retaining Corbyn might not be an electoral asset.

  4. John Torrance

    Revealing and understandable. how about 80-90% of anyone who has to stand in front of the electorate on behalf of Labour would do anything to be rid of Corbyn. They get just how unpopular he is outside of his (electorally tiny) comfort zone. As a Labour campaigner I have heard the same on the doorsteps,. The man who activists love is the same one voters hate. His supporters will blame the media but Labour leaders have almost always been pilloried in the media. That is a tradition. No,, it is more potential Labour voters cannot connect with Corbyn and just don’t understand him.

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