The challenger needs to change strategy
This morning there’s been another effort by the Smith campaign to claim that “private polling” suggests that the battle is close and that he could win.
This might or might not be right but until we see a proper selectorate poll showing something different the overwhelming narrative will be that that JC is heading to hang on to his job.
There’s no point in the Smith campaign making assertions which are simply not believed whatever their substance. Rather he should switch his objective to securing the maximum possible votes which would be putting JC under notice that he has to improve or else there’ll be another summer LAB leadership election in 2017.
That might help with waverers who are worried by Smith’s lack of experience.
An outcome where Corbyn finishes in the lower 50s would have a dramatically different impact than if he reaches or even exceeds the near 60% of last year yet again. If JC’s down into the 50-55% region then it’s going to be harder to play the mandate card. He could be portrayed as being on the decline and that his demise was only a matter of time.
If Labour’s still in the polling doldrums next June and Corbyn’s ratings remain poor then that would set things up for another challenge.