At the start of the week I explained that I was having trouble laying off my 7:1 bet on Ed Miliband because the bookies were obstinately keeping David as the clear favourite. That has now changed, and I’ll be placing a bet on the elder brother at 7/4 (Paddy Power) in order to secure a profit.
David is still expected to win the first round of voting today, with strong backing from MPs and activists if not union members. Yet Left Foot Forward, the left-wing political blog, is predicting that the younger brother would edge ahead by a single percentage point with the help of second preference votes.
And Mili-E is now the out-and-out bookies’ favourite. This is despite opinion polls suggesting that he lacks his brother’s public appeal. Only 8 per cent of voters consider Ed the best person to lead the Labour party, according to YouGov earlier this month. A separate poll this month by ComRes, this time of Labour voters, found that he was the preferred candidate of just 11 per cent.
David Miliband was the outright favourite in both cases at 20 per cent and 26 per cent respectively, although nearly half of the public and Labour voters ticked the “don’t know” box. Andrew Hawkins, head of ComRes, tells me that his research showed that Labour voters believed that David was more likely to get Labour into 10 Downing Street than Ed – by 36 per cent to 10 per cent:
“On every measure which we tested, David Miliband was ahead of his brother by at least 50 per cent…Then again, electability doesn’t always come into it when Labour choose a new leader.”