YouGov Polling on a Labour Split

YouGov have released some very interesting polling on the possibility of a Labour split and on Labour loyalty. Before we begin, note the following:

1. People are notoriously bad at predicting how they would react in hypothetical scenarios.

2. A week is a long time in politics and a lot can change in a very short time, especially in the aftermath of the referendum. Parties also benefit by being the official opposition because they get more money, air time, etc. Other factors include the election campaign itself, the position of UKIP, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, etc.

YouGov first considered three scenarios. Firstly, they asked a control question. Secondly, they considered a split by the right-wing of Labour. Thirdly, they considered a split by the left-wing of Labour.

Control Question

YouGov initially asked about current voting intentions:

Conservative 39%
Labour 29%
UKIP 13%
Liberal Democrat 8%.

On a uniform swing, the Conservatives would win 345 seats (+15) and Labour would win 216 seats (-16). The Conservatives would be in power with a majority of 40.

For comparison, Labour got 209 seats under Michael Foot which was their worst result since 1931, and this is even before we consider a split of any kind.

Labour Right-Wing Split

Now let us consider the most likely split of the two. Corbyn retains control of Labour and the right-wing of the Labour Party decide to set up their own party. I will call it Right Labour. YouGov gave the following figures:

Conservative 40%
Labour 21%
Right Labour 13%
UKIP 11%
Liberal Democrat 6%.

Using the swingometer is problematic because we do not know where the support of Right Labour would be. Would it divide the unified Labour vote evenly in every constituency? Would it be concentrated in the constituencies currently held by Right Labour? We just do not know.

What we can say is that there would be substantially fewer combined Labour/Right Labour seats. We can also say that such a split would give huge swathes of marginal seats to the Conservatives.

If you are willing to make the bold assumption that the swing away from Labour would be roughly uniform then you can use the swingometer. Under this assumption, the Conservatives would be on 384 seats (+54), Labour would be on 176 seats (-56). The Conservatives would have a landslide majority of 118.

Labour Left-Wing Split

On the other hand we have the left-wing of the Labour Party forming their own party, which I think would be the least likely of the two splits to happen. Let us call this new party Left Labour. The YouGov polling in this case is similar:

Conservative 40%
Labour 19%
Left Labour 14%
UKIP 11%
Liberal Democrat 7%.

Again, we cannot know the distribution of the Labour/Left Labour vote. Again, the uniform swingometer will most likely be wrong, but it will give us a rough picture. In this case it shows a Conservative majority of 142, a landslide.

Labour Loyalty

Finally YouGov asked about the loyalties of Labour voters. They found the following:

- Corbyn Followers (those who would vote for pro-Corbyn Labour or Left Labour) 30%
- Corbyn Opponents (those who would vote for anti-Corbyn Labour or Right Labour) 13%
- Brand Loyalists (those would would always vote Labour) 28%
- Don't know/go elsewhere 29%.

Full YouGov article here.
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