The Thick of It

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Friday, July 30, 2010

It will be all about the second preferences

The race to be the next Labour leader will be decided by the second preferences votes of candidates falling out of the contest. Milliband and Milliband will have to fight over the second preferences of Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott.

Gordon Brown apparently thinks Ed Milliband will win. The Sun's YouGov poll suggests that David will nudge him out slightly. The strong union support for Ed puts him in the chair to win. To win any candidate doesn't need the majority support of the membership but needs to win the electoral college. There are several unanswered questions as Peter Kellner points out.

MPs have the most individual power in the college as they make up their own third and the second preferences of those nominating Abbott, Balls and Burnham are unclear. My hunch is that the most of the votes will go to David as he is the more publicly credible candidate and MPs will want a leader that is most likely to deliver power. MPs would be foolish not to pick the most popular candidate.

Again I'm reminded that Labour loses out significantly by Alan Johnson's absence from the contest. He was rated as Labour's biggest vote winner. He is such an asset whoever wins needs to keep Johnson close. It saddens me that he has held himself back from both this and the London mayoral candidacy race. It doesn't matter who his second preference is - he is backing David Milliband.

UPDATE: I've just spotted Luke Akehurst's analysis of the MP/MEP part of the electoral college. That puts David in the lead.

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