Public unsure about Labour leadership candidates, suggests poll

Andy Burnham Labour

A new YouGov poll, for the Sunday Times, indicates that people don’t know enough about the candidates or don’t know who should lead.

It’s early days in the Labour leadership campaign. If the Conservatives had failed to win a majority then we would likely be in the midst of a period of coalition negotiations and potential Labour leaders would have a few more weeks to think about running.

But contrary to what the polls suggested the Conservatives won outright and Labour suffered a humiliating defeat.

A new YouGov poll suggests that people do not know enough about the candidates standing for Labour leader. As the campaign heats up in the coming months (the new leader will be announced in September) this will likely change as the public get more familiar with the candidates.

Respondents were asked: “Do you think each of the following would or would not make a good leader of the Labour party?”

The first person asked about was Chuka Umunna, however he is no longer standing. Interestingly enough, as he was seen as a the front-runner by many, 60% said they did not know or did not know enough about him to say. For Labour voters this figure was still over 50%, with 52% saying this about him.

For Liz Kendall, 81% said they did not know enough about her to answer (75% for Labour supporters).

55% said it about Yvette Cooper (47% for Labour voters), and 56% for Andy Burnham, as well as 69% for Tristram Hunt, 81% for Angela Eagle and 85% for Mary Creagh.

Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, probably the most well known of the potential candidates had less people not knowing enough about them, but the numbers still suggest that a significant number of people do not know enough.

As said already it’s early days and these numbers will likely shift in the coming months, but they could also show a lack of interest in the Labour leadership contest.

Furthermore, when respondents were asked which candidate would help improve Labour's election prospects Chuka Umunna, now out of the contest, came first with 17% picking him, however, 55% said they did not know.

Labour now have a mountain to climb. Yes, the party marginally increased it's share of the vote in the election, but in terms of seats they fell back; they lost forty seats in Scotland, and failed to get over a message of economic competence. The Labour party have a long way to go and will need a leader who can get them up that mountain.

View the full YouGov poll here.


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