Jeremy Corbyn is still on track to be the next Labour leader, according to leaked private polling. Tomorrow’s Daily Mirror reports that this poll puts Corbyn on 42 per cent of the first preference votes, with Yvette Cooper comes in second place on 22.6 per cent, Andy Burnham on 20 and Liz Kendall on 14.
Until now, Burnham’s campaign has maintained their man is the only one who could beat Corbyn after the votes have been redistributed. But the Mirror reports that once Kendall has been knocked out and her second preferences sent to other candidates, it is a dead heat with Corbyn on 51 per cent and Cooper on 49 per cent — both figures within the margin of error. In this situation, it appears that Cooper’s support is stronger than in previous polls and she could either win or come close to winning, thanks to Kendall and Burnham’s second preferences.
Given this, Cooper has the opportunity to become the Anyone But Corbyn candidate. As you might expect, Team Burnham disagrees with the conclusions of this poll. A source on Burnham’s campaign says ‘our data has consistently put her [Cooper] in third place’ and this poll is ‘nonsense’. Team Kendall take a similarly sceptical view and have questioned the authenticity of the poll. A source told Guido:
‘So-called “private polls” have no credibility and people should take no notice of them. If people have a real poll produced by a BPC [British Polling Council] member they should release it, rather than peddling questionable numbers.’
Given Kendall’s struggle to make it beyond third place in these polls and bookie’s odds, the ABC candidate is looking to be a straight fight between Burnham and Cooper. This polling suggests that there may be the beginning of a Cooper surge who want to stop Corbyn.
But so far, there are no details known of the pollster, sample size or where this poll came from. Until those details are public, the other campaigns are right to question it. But it suggests that Cooper should not be discounted — and a Corbyn victory remains a very real possibility.
UPDATE: William Hill has made Corbyn the favourite to win the leadership contest. The bookies now have odds of 11/8 for Corbyn to win, compared to 6/4 for Andy Burnham, 5/2 for Yvette Cooper and 50/1 for Liz Kendall.