YouGov have conducted the first poll of the Labour leadership contest, and given the good track record of similar polls in the past, it now looks pretty likely that the Corbyn project is about to come to an abrupt end unless something dramatic changes.
Sir Keir Starmer 31%
Rebecca Long-Bailey 20%
Jess Phillips 11%
Clive Lewis 7%
Yvette Cooper 7%
Emily Thornberry 6%
Lisa Nandy 5%
Sir Keir Starmer 61%
Rebecca Long-Bailey 39%
If the Corbynites were being rational, they'd thank their lucky stars that they've been given advance warning of Long-Bailey's impending defeat while there's still time to find a different champion. But I'm not sure they're nimble enough for that. They'll probably convince themselves that the poll is wrong or that they can somehow overcome the odds by signing up enough Corbynite registered supporters. If so, they're in denial - Long-Bailey isn't going to inspire people, and certainly not after she came out in favour of the potential use of nuclear weapons.
Why was she the chosen one in the first place? It may simply be that John McDonnell and those around him calculated that the Labour selectorate would be looking for a woman as their next leader, and that the best-placed female candidate would therefore stand an excellent chance. But I don't think it really works like that. Even in a progressive party, members vote on the basis of the candidates in front of them. They don't vote for a gender. In spite of the catastrophic mistake Lib Dem members made in electing Jo Swinson, I don't believe they chose her because she would be the party's first female leader - I think they (wrongly) reckoned that she had something.
What would a credible Plan B for the Corbynites look like? I can only think of a couple of options -
1) John McDonnell replaces Long-Bailey as the standard bearer. And they would have to be ruthless and make it a straight replacement, because the nominations system ensures there will be a maximum of one Corbynite candidate on the ballot paper. It would be the equivalent of Alex Salmond jumping into the SNP leadership race at the last minute in 2004, after it became clear that his protégé Nicola Sturgeon was unlikely to defeat Roseanna Cunningham. Although McDonnell has two obvious disadvantages (his age and his role in the 2019 defeat), he's very well known and has a big personality, and it's certainly possible to imagine him beating Starmer in a run-off.
2) The Corbynites swing behind Clive Lewis. That may be an odd thing to suggest given that Lewis is well below Long-Bailey in the poll, but I would guess that's because the true believers are currently going with Long-Bailey as the leadership's favoured choice. If Lewis became the leading left-wing candidate, he's charismatic enough to have a chance against Starmer.
But the likelihood is that the Corbynites will stubbornly stick with Long-Bailey, and will consequently go down to a needless defeat.