Eight out of the 60 councillors have said that they would vote for Abbey Green's Walker. Four indicated that they would vote for Peter Kent Baguley (Potteries Alliance) and four for Roger Ibbs (Conservative).
Worryingly 10 councillors said that in their opinion no-one was up to the job whilst 15 said they had not made their minds up.
This poll comes just 24 hours before the 186000 population go to the polling stations and vote YES for a system of council leader and cabinet or NO for retaining the mayoral system of governance.
If the city vote Yes, the 60 councilors would vote for a leader next May. Mark Meredith would then have to see out the remainder of his time in office knowing that he does not have the support of the people of Stoke on Trent.
I am a little concerned over the timing of this poll from our City Newspaper as it could look that this is a ploy to get the city to retain the mayoral system as people may be worried about having a BNP leader. Should a newspaper be stirring up issues like this?
It is worth noting that the BNP have 9 councilors now, so to see Alby Walker get eight votes in the poll is not surprising.
What this poll does highlight however is how divided the local Labour Group is and there is now a clear indication that the party is split several ways as to who should be leader. Surely now this party needs to regroup and get behind whoever is chosen as Labour Leader, Mike Barnes, Joy Garner and Mark Davis are the obvious candidates for leader.
The 15 who could not make their mind up is more like an indication that the Independent and non aligned councillors are waiting to see who they can make a deal with.
Paul Breeze, who is co-ordinating the pro-mayoral 'No' vote People's Choice campaign, said the results of The Sentinel survey show why a leader from outside the council chamber is needed.
He said: "We need a directly-elected mayor chosen by the people. Sixty councillors will never form a consensus on who should be leader. Strong leadership can only come from a mayor chosen by the people."
But Potteries Alliance leader and Democracy4Stoke activist Mr Kent-Baguley said several councillors could make successful leaders.
He added: "If people really believe that there is no-one suitable to become leader, then it is very sad.
"They are overlooking the real experience and expertise that some members of the chamber have."
This story comes a day after my tongue in cheek evaluation of the movers and shakers in our City.
Over to you, I think it should be open season on this........
Read the Sentinel article here: