As you may have seen by now, there's yet another spate of reports in the press about a private poll for the Labour leadership contest, but this time with specific figures -
First preferences :
Jeremy Corbyn 42%
Yvette Cooper 22.6%
Andy Burnham 20%
Liz Kendall 14%
Final run-off :
Jeremy Corbyn 51%
Yvette Cooper 49%
I don't think we need to scratch our heads too much about the origin of this poll - the only candidate who benefits from it being leaked is Yvette Cooper, so it probably came from her team. It's quite amusing to see that she is also the only candidate whose share of the vote is given to one decimal place, which suggests that the person who leaked the poll was rather more interested in her than in anyone else!
A number of commentators have pointed out that it's extremely unsatisfactory that we don't know which company carried out this poll or what the sample size was, but in fact what would interest me most is the fieldwork dates. If it was wholly or mostly conducted after the publication of the YouGov poll, that would mean there's no longer any reason to suppose that Corbyn's initial support contained a significant number of people who merely wanted to "shake things up", and who are horrified by the thought of him actually winning. Assuming his huge lead on first preferences has indeed survived the fallout from YouGov, it's very hard to see why it won't survive the next few weeks as well, because clearly the people planning to vote for him do genuinely want him to win. If anything, his position may become even stronger as the result of a bandwagon effect - it's easy to imagine people being inspired to pay £3 to vote for Corbyn now that they seriously believe he can become leader, but who is going to care enough about stopping him that they will go out of their way to vote for a dismal candidate like Burnham? Anyone who does care that much is probably already a party member, and is therefore already factored into the figures.
Given that it's impossible to win the leadership without being in the final run-off, and given that Burnham and Cooper each seem to have a roughly 50/50 chance of failing to make the run-off, it strikes me that Jeremy Corbyn should really now be considered the favourite to win, albeit still an odds-against favourite. I'm surprised that the bookies are still marginally giving the edge to Burnham, but that may not be the case for much longer.