The last time I carried out a Poll on Labour's deputy leadership earlier this year it produced the following result.
Jon Cruddas 35%
Hilary Benn 28%
Alan Johnson 7%
Peter Hain 5%
Harriet Harman 4%
Hazel Blears 3%
Jack Straw 3%
None of the above 15%
A few weeks' back I decided to run the poll again as the contest is now "live," minus Straw who decided against running. After the same length of time, the updated poll produced the following outcome (percentage movement in brackets):
Hilary Benn 48% (+20)
Jon Cruddas 24% (-10)
Alan Johnson 10% (+3)
Hazel Blears 8% (+5)
Harriet Harman 5% (+1)
Peter Hain 4% (-1)
Now of course all this is totally unscientific, but assuming that (a) some of my readers are Labour Party or union members, and (b) that some of the same people voted, it does seem to me to indicate two things:
1. Hilary Benn now has a big lead in grassroots support - which is what most other polls on the matter are saying anyway.
2. By carving himself out a distinct niche in this contest as the "change" candidate, Jon Cruddas continues to steal a march on the more established ministerial heopfuls.
It is still way to early to try to call this contest, but I do now expect Hazel Blears and Peter Hain to be the first two candidates eliminated, although I am not sure in what order. I expect much of Blears' support to go to Alan Johnson, while a lot of Hain's will go to Cruddas.
Since Harriet Harman and Cruddas have endorsed eachother, their second prefernces may well transfer to eachother in later ballots. The question is whether there will be enough of them to overtake Mr Benn, and at the moment, you have to say it is looking unlikely.