Opinion Formers: Half do not expect Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader by the next General Election

Alec FolwellSenior Research Executive
October 09, 2015, 9:20 AM UTC

Undoubtedly, Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party has sent shockwaves through the politically engaged, simultaneously raising people’s greatest hopes and deepest fears. YouGov’s Opinion Formers - which draws leaders from the worlds of business, politics, the media, charities, public sector and academia among others – however do not expect his election as leader of the Opposition to boost the fortunes of his beleaguered party.

Half (51%) of Opinion Formers doubt that Jeremy Corbyn will still be Labour leader by the time of the next General Election, while a third (33%) expect a split within Labour that could see some Labour MPs leaving to start a new party or join another. A further 30% expect general support for Labour to fall across Britain as a result of Corbyn’s election.

Despite these grim prospects for Corbyn’s future, 30% of Opinion Formers do think that his election is good for British politics, perhaps indicating that while most feel he will never be handed the keys to 10 Downing Street, his ideology provides a refreshing break with the consensus politics which have led many to become disillusioned with the establishment.

When we breakdown the data by who Opinion Formers voted for in the 2015 election, we can see that even Labour supporters are likely to doubt that Corbyn will still be leader by the next election (44%), although they are also most likely to think that he is good for British politics. They are also least likely to expect a split within the party and defection of Labour MPs (20% compared with 44% of Tory voters and 38% of Liberal Democrat voters), and are also more optimistic that Corbyn’s election will increase support for Labour across Britain (24%). Perhaps most interesting is that Liberal Democrat voters are on balance less likely to vote for Labour than they were before (28% less likely versus 12% more likely), perhaps suggesting that those who might still feel embittered by their Party’s actions in the last government wouldn’t even now see Labour as a viable alternative.

When split by which sector Opinion Formers work in, those in Culture and Arts or Academia appear most hopeful regarding Corbyn’s prospects; 36% and 39% respectively feel his election is good for British politics, 27% expect an increase in general support for Labour across Britain as a result, and 16% and 15% respectively are more likely to vote Labour than they were. Conversely, those in business are the most negative; over half (54%) doubt he will still be leader by the next General Election, over a third expect a general fall in support for Labour (37%) and a split in the party (36%), and only a quarter (25%) think that his election is good for British politics.

Whatever your view on Jeremy Corbyn, one thing everyone can agree on is that he has certainly got people talking.

YouGov completed online interviews with 661 members of its UK Opinion Formers panel. Opinion Formers are leaders in their field from business, media, politics, NGOs, academia and beyond. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th and 23rd September 2015. The figures have not been weighted.