LDV members’ survey (2): Labour leadership – Ed Miliband wins your vote (but Ed Balls would be best for Lib Dems)

by Stephen Tall on May 30, 2010

Lib Dem Voice has been conducting a survey this week of party members registered on our members’ forum asking them for their views of the coalition, Labour leadership and the party’s general election result. Over 400 have responded, and here’s part two of what you’ve told us …

LDV asked: Putting aside your Lib Dem allegiance who do you think would make the best Labour leader?

Here’s what you said:

37% – Ed Miliband
25% – Diane Abbott
17% – David Miliband
9% – Andy Burnham
8% – John McDonnell
3% – Ed Balls
(Excluding Don’t know / No opinion = 24%)

Though David leads many of the polls still, it’s brother Ed who has attracted most of the early smart money, being just as smart but a little less ‘wonkish’.

More surprising, perhaps, is the strong showing of Diane Abbott. Lib Dem party members are not out-of-step in naming her among their top choices as Labour leader: the public, too, (including Lib Dem voters) are also intrigued by the thought of the only female candidate in the race emerging as leader, according to one recent poll.

Interestingly, there was a small-but-noticeable write-in campaign for three candidates who have ruled themselves out: Alan Johnson, Jon Cruddas and John Denham. And a larger write-in campaign for the option, ‘None of the above’.

LDV then asked: And which of the following declared Labour leaders would be to the best political advantage of the Lib Dems?

47% – Ed Balls
22% – Diane Abbott
16% – John McDonnell
6% – David Miliband
5% – Ed Miliband
5% – Andy Burnham
(Excluding Don’t know / No opinion = 20%)

Ed Balls was an overwhelming winner, pointing to the fundamental flaw in his candidacy: the petty partisan tribalism which has earned him admirers within the Labour party repels him from most people beyond the Labour party.

Diane Abbott’s second place in this category, too, points to her ‘Marmite’ candidacy: for every person who likes her there is an equal and opposite reaction against her. Andy Burnham is narrowly judged the least advantageous leader for the Lib Dems – perhaps because his candidacy is, so far, pretty anonymous, and likely to end soon, unless he can scrape together the necessary MP nominations.