Harriet Harman is the voters choice for the next Deputy Leader of the Labour party a new YouGov poll of nearly 2000 voters shows today.
Fifteen per cent of all voters said that electing Harriet would make them more likely to vote Labour at the next General Election, beating Hilary Benn into second place on 12%. None of the other candidates looked at in the poll got out of single figures.
However, more importantly for Labour, Harriets lead was far larger amongst two key groups: swing voters and women voters.
Twenty nine per cent of swing voters said that electing Harriet would make them more likely to vote Labour, putting Harriet top and 10 points clear of second place. When asked who they would like to see as deputy alongside Gordon Brown, Harriet had the greatest appeal, beating not only Hilary Benn, but also Hazel Blears, Alan Johnson, Peter Hain, and Jon Cruddas. Harriet also had the most positive personal rating amongst swing voters, with 24% giving her a warm personal rating (6 or more out of 10), compared to 17% for Hilary Benn, 15% for Alan Johnson, 13% for Peter Hain, 7% for Hazel Blears and 5% for Jon Cruddas.
Harriet also topped the poll of women voters a crucial focus for Labour. Seventeen per cent of women voters said that electing Harriet alongside Gordon Brown would make them more likely to vote Labour, while none of the other candidates got out of single figures when put alongside Gordon Brown. The only other woman who looks set to enter the race Hazel Blears scored just 7%, showing that Harriets strong showing is not just because she is a women, but a result of her strong personal appeal. Harriet was the only candidate, from a list including Hazel Blears, Hilary Benn, Alan Johnson, Peter Hain, and Jon Cruddas to have a net positive appeal amongst women. For all the other candidates, more women said that if that person was elected Deputy they would be less likely to vote Labour than said it would be more likely.
Harriet is further bolstered by findings that show that 53% of all voters agree that 'it is important to me that the next Deputy Prime Minister is someone I already know, not someone I have never heard of.' Harriet was comfortably the best known candidate. Just 15% of voters say they have never heard of her: less than half the number for Hilary Benn, Alan Johnson, Hazel Blears or Jon Cruddas. Peter Hain was the next best known, with 28% saying they have never heard of him. There are similar results for both swing voters and women voters.
Having a woman on the leadership team appears to be particularly important to both women and swing voters. 57% of women and 54% of swing voters agree that a men only leadership team would show that Labour is old fashioned. In contrast, just 37% of men agree.
Polls state that women are of particular concern for the Labour party at the moment. Recent polling by YouGov shows that while Labour were doing equally well amongst men as women until December 2005, since then the Tories have opened up a significant gain amongst women while making few inroads amongst men (see graph below).
Swing voters are also critical. Labours majority hinges on 66 marginal seats where they hold leads of less than 12%, including 43 seats which would be lost on a swing of less than 2.5%.
The poll carried out by YouGov and commissioned by Harriet Harman.
For further information contact Janice Muir: +44 (0) 777 223 7513
Fieldwork was carried out online between 21st and 24th November. 1950 voters were polled, of whom 971 were women and 324 were swing voters. Swing voters were picked out by first asking for voting intention, then asking What are the chances that you will end up deciding to vote for a different party in the next general election which is likely to be in a couple of years time? People who said a high chance or a fair chance were considered swing voters.
The questions asked were:
Q1. John Prescott has said he will stand down as Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in the next few months.
Several candidates have said they will stand for the job of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. We'd like to know what you think of some of the candidates.
Using a scale from 0 to 10 (where 0 = Very cold, unfavourable and 10 = Very warm, favourable) please rate how you feel about the following candidates:
Q2. Tony Blair has said he will stand down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, and Gordon Brown is widely expected to take over in that job.
We'd like to know which potential deputy leader you think would be best alongside Gordon Brown.
For each pairing, please state if you think it would make you much more likely, a little more likely, a little less likely or much less likely to vote Labour at the next general election.
To view graphs, click here [PDF file]