Out for the count is an expression used in boxing. When a boxer is knocked down and has not managed to get up from the floor after ten seconds have been counted by the referee, he is said to be "out for the count" and loses the fight. When used as a metaphor, as in the Times headline, it means that someone has been defeated and cannot recover. • Whatever Labour's poll ratings, regardless of the Cabinet ministers who have walked out, Mr Brown is still far from out for the count. • GM and Chrysler are on the ropes, if not out for the count. There is almost certainly an intended pun on the word "count" meaning the counting of votes (see Matt cartoon below).
- Wikipedia has a good list of sports idioms.