Jeremy Corbyn is ahead by 15 points in the Labour leadership election, according to private polling witnessed by "The New Statesman." Corbyn, a last-minute entrant to the race to succeed Ed Miliband, currently has 40 nominations from local parties, with Andy Burnham leading the way on 48, Yvette Cooper on 30 and Liz Kendall on five.
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn, address delegates at the annual conference of the GMB union in Dublin
However, according to two polls conducted by Corbyn’s leadership rivals, Labour’s preferential voting system is masking the veteran left-winger’s actual strength, with the surveys suggesting Corbyn, 66, boasts a “commanding position” and is "on course to win."
The new polling notes that Burnham is leading in first choice preferences with 39 per cent of the vote, with Corbyn second on 33 per cent. However, Corbyn's popularity as a second choice means that, under Labour's voting system, he is way ahead of his rivals.
According to the magazine, Corbyn’s unexpected popularity flows from the younger members of the party, many recent recruits following the election defeat. The surge could also be due to the a vacuum left by the party’s right flank, who deserted Labour during Miliband’s tenure.
Corbyn's campaign was recently boosted by support from the Unite union, who have signed up more than 50,000 people to cast a vote.
The Burnham campaign dismissed the polling on Wednesday, noting the findings don’t correlate with their phone bank data. Kendall’s camp released a statement decrying the Islington MP, saying voters face a “straight choice between changing to win with Liz Kendall or marching into a 1980s-style wilderness with Jeremy Corbyn.”