LONDON: The head of Britain’s main Labor opposition party Jeremy Corbyn is set to win a crushing victory against leadership challenger Owen Smith, according to the first poll of the contest published Wednesday.
The poll by YouGov for The Times found 62 percent of those entitled to vote would back Corbyn and 38 percent Smith, meaning the veteran socialist would win by an even bigger margin than in last year’s leadership election.
The survey by YouGov found 52 percent of Labor members would vote for Corbyn, along with 70 percent of registered supporters and 54 percent of trade union affiliates—the three categories voting.
The 67-year-old Corbyn is opposed by a majority of Labour lawmakers in parliament, who are more centrist and do not believe he can win a general election.
They have also criticized him for half-hearted campaigning in favor of Britain staying in the EU ahead of the country’s momentous June referendum.
Smith, 46, is a Welsh MP who has said he will fight to keep Britain in the EU through a second referendum.
The divisions in the party have raised the prospect of a permanent split after the leadership vote and the YouGov survey found 39 percent of respondents believed this was either very or fairly likely.
The survey had 1,236 respondents and was conducted between August 25 and 29 in the first polling since postal ballots began to be sent out on August 22. AFP