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Only 1 in 5 Labour voters would back Ed Miliband, according to a poll in The Sun

By Joseph Willits 
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Screen shot 2011-12-07 at 10.09.59Today's Sun carries a YouGov poll which is bad news for the Labour party generally - and Ed Miliband personally.

  • The poll suggests that only 1 in 5 Labour voters believe that Miliband is doing a good enough job.
  • 51% of Labour voters saying that Miliband could do better.
  • 40% of these have given Miliband a year's ultimatum to improve.
  • A further 26% have given him up to 2 years to up his game.
  • Only 17% would allow Ed Miliband up until the next election in 2015, time to improve.

Only yesterday it was reported that Miliband's picture was absent from Labour's election literature for December 15th's Feltham and Heston byelection. 

Responses from voters from all parties suggest that voters have more trust Cameron and Osborne to sort out the economic crisis. 32% in the Sun's poll believe that they are be best suited to leading the country out of the economic crisis, with Miliband and Balls scoring 26%.

On the issue of credibility, in yesterday's Times (£), under the headline, 'Let’s be honest: Labour would have to cut too', Ed Balls wrote:

"The question the public naturally ask is whether and when Labour can be trusted on the economy again. After all, the biggest global financial crisis since the 1930s happened on the previous Labour Government’s watch ... Credibility is based on trust and trust is based on honesty, so we must be clear with the British people that under Labour there will have to be cuts. But honesty does not mean going along with a failed Conservative plan because it is easier in the short term. We tried that when Labour supported the disastrous decision to join the ERM in 1990 and stuck with it."

Screen shot 2011-12-07 at 10.40.24Miliband will be able to take some consolation from today's poll in the Sun, however, in that all voters still put him in a better position than his closest rivals to lead the party. Only 13% would prefer Ed Balls as leader, Yvette Cooper 10%, and Jim Murphy 3%.

In the Independent on Sunday, John Rentoul argued that if Labour slipped in the opinion polls, then "only two things hold him in place: "there's no one else" and "Labour doesn't get rid of its leaders". Rentoul cited a now abolished popularity contest among Labour MPs, suggesting that Yvette Cooper would have "taken Ed Miliband's anti-Blairite vote and added to it". Although the general public, according to the Sun's poll may not see Yvette Cooper (or anyone else for that matter) as a viable alternative to lead Labour, as Rentoul suggests, Labour MPs may decide otherwise:

"As for Labour not getting rid of its leaders, that used to be true. But the MPs did not vote for the leader, and they know that party members didn't either. I think that, this time, they would be unsentimental in disposing of him if they thought anyone else could do better."