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26 February 2020updated 29 Jun 2021 2:31pm

Keir Starmer extends his lead in latest poll of Labour members

The shadow Brexit secretary appears near-unstoppable with 53 per cent of the vote in the first round. 

By Stephen Bush

A third YouGov poll has confirmed the trend seen in the first two: Keir Starmer is on course for a resounding victory in the Labour leadership race, with a first-round win over Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy (Starmer is on 53 per cent to Long-Bailey’s 31 per cent and Nandy’s 16 per cent). That fits with everything we have seen and every scrap of data from this contest so far; from a Survation poll of LabourList readers, various ballots by affiliated societies and trade unions and, indeed, the pattern of Constituency Labour Party nominations – everything suggests that Starmer is well ahead among Labour members. YouGov has never called a party’s internal contest wrong and there is nothing to suggest that will change this time. 

As I said at the start of the race, we shouldn’t see the CLP nominations as providing a clear guide to how many, or where the candidates will do well – but rather as providing a rough probability figure about how the candidates will do. Doing that would give Starmer a 58 per cent probability chance of winning, Long-Bailey a 25 per cent chance, Nandy an 11 per cent chance and Thornberry a 4 per cent chance. However, as I also wrote at the time, we should also exercise basic common sense: Thornberry is not on the ballot so she in practice has a zero per cent chance. In 2016, basic common sense meant that we could in practice say that Jeremy Corbyn had a 100 per cent chance of victory, not the 88 per cent chance implied by his lead among CLP nominations.

At this point, the only reason to say “well, Keir Starmer might not win” is that something might happen – some event or procedural trick or something. But the reality is that it is not particularly likely, and that the overwhelming likelihood is that Starmer will be elected Labour leader on 4 April.

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