LONDON (Reuters) - Jeremy Corbyn, the most left-wing of four candidates, is the clear frontrunner for the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, according to a YouGov opinion poll for the Times newspaper published on Tuesday.
Corbyn, 66, 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.
The poll showed Corbyn with 53 percent of the first preference vote, up 10 points since a previous poll in July, suggesting he could win in the first round of voting. Rival candidate Andy Burnham was left trailing on 21 percent.
The results of Labour’s internal vote will be announced on Sept. 12 at a special conference.
Corbyn had started the contest as a rank outsider who barely managed to get his name on the ballot.
According to the poll, his support is stronger among those who joined the party after Labour was resoundingly beaten by the Conservative party in a general election in May.
His centrist rivals, who include two former cabinet ministers, say the perception that Labour was anti-business was one of the reasons it lost the May election.
Party heavyweights such as former prime minister Tony Blair have been issuing warnings that a lurch to the left would consign Labour to electoral oblivion.
YouGov president Peter Kellner said that not a single vote had yet been cast and party members could still change their minds.
“Our latest results provide a situation report rather than a firm prediction of the final figures,” Kellner wrote on the YouGov website. “I would personally be astonished if Corbyn does not end up as Labour’s leader.”
Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Mark Heinrich