In a poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Sun, the eldest Miliband brother won 37 per cent of first preference votes. His brother, Ed, is his closest rival on 29 per cent.
So it looks set to be a fraternal battle to take charge of the Labour Party and, according to some reports, the contest has stretched the pair’s relationship to breaking point.
However, as far as the bookmakers are concerned, there’s only one winner – David. He’s strongly odds on with all firms, and you’d be hard pressed to find a price much better than the 2/5 offered by Paddy Power.
Still, there is a chance the bookies could have got this one wrong. Even if the YouGov poll is accurate, it doesn’t indicate a win for David.
The leadership election is run using a transferable vote system. Under this method, candidates have to gain more than 50 per cent of the vote to win, and this very rarely happens straight away.
Everyone casting a ballot is asked to rank the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate achieves an outright majority of first preferences, the worst performing participant is eliminated from the contest.
This individual’s ballot papers are then re-examined and voters’ second preferences are allocated to the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until someone has more than 50 per cent of the vote.
It’s a complicated system, but basically it means that David’s poll result of 37 per cent isn’t as impressive as it first seems.
He could attract the most first preference votes, but if those who decide to back the other three candidates (namely Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Dianne Abbott) see the other Miliband as their second choice, then he could nip through on the wire and steal the election. Even Balls isn’t totally out of the running, although his chances are slim.