How Unite members swung behind Ed Miliband

Much will be made in coming weeks and months of the fact that Ed Miliband only beat his brother David for the Labour leadership because of the votes of affiliates – mostly, but not exclusively, trade union members. And it’s true that Unite, the biggest union and Ed M supporter, pulled out all the stops for him, even printing pictures of him on some of the envelopes containing the ballot papers they sent out.

That aside, what looks set to emerge in the union-by-union voting figures is that Unite members must have taken the hint.

A few weeks ago, Team Ed M visited Unite’s co-headquarters in London’s Covent Garden to do some telephone canvassing. They contacted 850 Unite members – over 5 per cent 0.05 per cent of the total membership, not a bad sample size by opinion poll standards.

Of the 850, over 500 said they’d vote for the younger Miliband. The second most popular choice was ‘don’t know’ and the third most popular ‘not voting’. The remaining candidates did pretty badly in the sample’s estimation.

Update: I should point out, not all the membership were balloted, as they’re not all political levy payers. So the ‘sample’ was actually bigger than 0.0005 per cent. The point stands. However the figures now show that Unite members didn’t vote quite as uniformly as the phone poll suggests – although a majority of Unite voters did vote for Ed Miliband.

(from Tribune blog)

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3 Responses to “How Unite members swung behind Ed Miliband”

  1. Andrew Murray Says:

    850 is, in fact, less than 0.1 per cent of the Unite members balloted for the Labour leadership, not five per cent.

  2. Dr S Pin Says:

    What Unite delegate at the conference shouted “Rubbish” during Ed’s speech?

    See http://www.les4gs.org/wordpress/

    Read “no place for infantile politics”…

  3. lastreporter Says:

    Quite right, Andrew. Unite has over 1.5 million members and I can’t count. Whoops! I have amended. Fortunately, my point stands as 0.0005 per cent is still a representative sample for a national opinion poll. In fact, of course, the number of Unite members balloted was less than the total membership, as they don’t all pay in to the political fund – as my amended post makes clear.

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