Jeremy Corbyn looks set to achieve a second landslide victory in the Labour leadership election, according to a YouGov poll released this week. The headline figures put Corbyn at 62 per cent of the vote, with his rival Owen Smith staggering behind on 38 per cent. If such a margin were to hold for the official election, Jeremy Corbyn would be elected with an even greater mandate than the one he received less than a year ago.
Though the headline figures will capture the bulk of the press coverage, there are some important statistics that rest behind this prediction of another thumping victory.
While Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters have long been labelled as young idealists trapped in a London-centric bubble, the data seems to disprove this.
Though Corbyn receives the backing of 61 per cent of 18-24 year olds, the Labour leader is more popular with the 40-59 year old age bracket. Corbyn is supported by 63 per cent of voters within this category compared to Smith’s 37 per cent.
And while Corbyn shores up 55 per cent of support in London, it is in the Northern heartlands that the Labour leader finds greater levels of support: 63 per cent to Smith’s 37 per cent. Apparently Smith’s commitment to a second referendum isn’t that attractive to the North, much of which voted for Brexit. Who’d have thought it?
It’s also often reported that Corbyn’s camp is full of “brocialists” – but it’s Smith who was posted supposedly making penis jokes this week.
Given his history of joking that public spending cuts are like domestic violence (“Surely, the Liberals will file for divorce as soon as the bruises start to show through the make-up?” he wrote in 2010) and his apparent belief that women only get airtime because of their gender, not to mention suggesting that misogyny didn’t exist in the Labour Party before Jeremy Corbyn, it is rather unsurprising that Smith only gets the support of 33 per cent of women within the Labour electorate. The Labour leader charges ahead with 67 per cent support from women within the Labour movement, along with 57 per cent of men.
While these headline figures were somewhat expected, the finer details make for an interesting reading of the current leadership election.
Corbyn wins every single region and every single age group. The poll shows that he would win across every section of the party electorate, whether it be full members, registered supporters or union affiliates.
This is all despite the fact that 130,000 new members were recently denied a vote in the leadership election. Though the establishment seems to enjoy berating and patronising grassroots Labour members, it seems entirely unable to beat them.
And it isn’t hard to see why. Owen Smith’s campaign has been utterly desperate. It’s been a case of mistake after mistake. It’s not just been funny gaffes that have left Smith in this position. His “smashing her back on her heels” comment about Theresa May and his use of the word “lunatic” to describe his rival point to a downright dangerous lack of forethought or insight.
The reason that Corbynism works is because it is real; in comparison, everything Smith does looks pre-packaged and false. When it comes to Jeremy Corbyn, what you see is what you get. You may not like that – and that’s your right – but it’s clear that across the Labour membership, Corbyn is liked and admired. Telling members they don’t matter or that they are stupid isn’t going to win them over.
Even on the question of electability, more Labour members, supporters and affiliates believe that Jeremy Corbyn has a better chance of winning a general election than Owen Smith. While Corbyn’s satisfaction ratings are paraded on a frequent basis, 67 per cent of Smith’s own supporters think he would lose the next election for Labour.
Jeremy Corbyn is seen as more principled, more competent, more honest and more likely to win the next general election.
When it comes to convincing the Labour movement that he is an apocalyptic threat, Owen Smith and the Labour Party establishment have failed spectacularly. And they only have themselves to blame.
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