Left-wing veteran and surprise front-runner Jeremy Corbyn has almost doubled his lead in the race to win the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, according to a new poll.
Corbyn, 66, started the contest as a rank outsider who barely managed to get his name on the ballot.
But he has soared ahead of three other, more centrist, rivals and a new YouGov opinion poll for the Times newspaper gives him 53 percent of the first preference vote – up 10 points since a previous poll in July.
That suggests that Corbyn could win in the first round of voting. His nearest rival, Andy Burnham, is trailing on 21 percent.
Corbyn wants to return the centre-left party to its socialist roots and has already said he would take the railway and energy networks back into public ownership if he won power.
He is much further to the left than last Labour leader Ed Miliband who was himself criticised by some for being too left-wing – one theory about why Labour lost this year’s general election.
According to the poll, Corbyn’s support is strongest among those who joined the party after Labour’s resounding defeat to David Cameron’s
Conservatives in May.
Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned against a Corbyn victory – saying that those whose political hearts lie with the front-runner should ‘get a transplant’.
And Blair’s ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell has warned that a Corbyn victory would be a ‘car crash’.
The results of Labour’s internal vote will be announced on September 12 at a special conference.