Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
22 February 2016

A new poll puts Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in a strong position

A new poll reveals the depth of the disconnection between Labour members and the party's MPs - and an even bigger gulf with the public.

By Stephen Bush

A new poll of the Labour party membership confirms Jeremy Corbyn’s strong position atop the Labour party. He basks in a 56 percent approval rating, with 72 per cent of Labour members approving of his performance and 17 per cent disapproving. He still has broad support for his agenda, with 56 per cent of members believing that Labour’s policies at the last election were “not left-wing enough”.

The poll, comissioned by Ian Warren, Labour’s data guru at the last election, and carried out by YouGov, takes the temperature of Labour activists on a variety of issues. 

But on the major issues, he and the party membership are wildly at variance with opinion among the public at large. 60 per cent of voters, and 48 per cent of Labour voters, list immigration as one of their “top three” concerns. Just 17 per cent of Labour members do. 31 per cent of voters pick “defence and terrorism”, as do 22 per cent of Labour voters. Just 11 per cent of party members do. Housing is Labour members’ top concern, with 69 per cent picking it as one of their top three. Just 20 per cent of voters do, and only 29 per cent of Labour voters list it as among their top concerns.

The poll exposes the difficult battle ahead for Corbyn’s internal opponents. Just 18 per cent of members believe that Trident, Britain’s nuclear deterrent, should be renewed, and 51 per cent of members say they would not vote for a candidate who supported Trident renewal in a future leadership election, while 58 per cent would not support a candidate who voted for airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria.

However, there are some causes for optimism among Corbyn’s opponents. 58 per cent of party members believe that Labour MPs should priortise the concerns of their constituents, while just 17 per cent believe that the concerns of members should come first. 43 per cent believe that Corbyn should priotise the concerns of the general public over their own, though a greater number – 26 per cent – believe that Corbyn should put members’ concerns first than believe MPs should do so. 

The full tables of the poll are available here.