15 Sep 2010

Miliband to win – but which one?

“Pure puff” – that’s the D MiIliband team view of reports this morning (BBC Today Programme) that Ed Miliband might have won a clean sweep of all three parts of electoral college – the party members, the MPs and the trade union activists. Camp David has long thought that it is about 10% ahead on constituency activists, based on phone contact with, it claims, 60,000 members. It believes it is clearly ahead on first preferences in the MPs’ section and that there are only, according to its tallies, 8 MPs who are undecided on their second preferences.
 
The “Ed Miliband to Win” headlines look designed to encourage a late surge amongst “ordinary” voters and an “I want to be on the winning side” surge amongst MPs. MPs, it’s worth remembering, have their exact votes published (the Wednesday after the Saturday leader vote declaration).
 
Ed M’s campaign say they’ve been talking to “way more” than 60,000 through phone banks and think the Blairite endorsements of David Miliband hurt him with members. Interestingly, they weren’t this morning saying that they had won the MPs’ section but that it was “much much closer” than people thought. They agree with Camp David that there are only a handful of MPs’ second preferences still to be nailed down. Today’s headline, presumably, might help that operation.
 
Ed M’s team believe that the big unions that backed their man have been delivering in terms of contact, support and promotional bumph popped in with the ballot paper (in a separate envelope to the ballot paper but in the same posting, an NEC compromise the unions insisted on when there was an attempt to reduce union influence and force them to send out separate postings to members in the aftermath of the Deputy Leadership contest in 2007).
 
Who will win could come down to how convincingly Ed M wins the trade union college (if he wins it). He could, theoretically, win the whole thing having only won the trade union college in first preferences. That would make things a bit sticky in terms of mandate, but would have required things to have been pretty close in the other colleges … so not that sticky.

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