ComRes have a new poll of Londoners out. Asked who they’d prefer between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, Boris leads Ken by 44% to 35%. Unlike the rather odd question last month, this one didn’t have Oona King in, gave people the option of saying other, and came straight after the initial Westminster voting intention, so should give a better picture of where the two candidates are at the start of the race.

Interestingly ComRes also asked about Voting Intention in London, which stands at CON 36%(+1), LAB 39%(+2), LDEM 16%(-6) – changes are from the actual 2010 election result. These figures are not directly comparable to majoral preferences, since these are weighted and filtered by likelihood to vote and exclude don’t knows, but nevertheless Boris does seem to be outperforming his party while Ken lags behinds Labour. Looking at the cross breaks, 19% of Labour voters would prefer Boris as mayor, compared to only 9% of Conservative voters who would prefer Ken.

88 Responses to “New ComRes poll of Londoners”

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  1. I wonder if Boris has developed an incumbency benefit?

    Given Ken’s profile I’d be surprised, but maybe memories are short?

  2. So London continues to be more pro-Labour than the rest of the country as the election showed.

  3. Yep- potentially a bungled candidate selection that one :-(

    Oona would have been by far the better choice to have beaten Boris (blinking MLE)!!

    Hopefully by the time of the actual mayoral election Boris will be tainted by Cameron-Osborne-Cleggs national performance…..

    Good voter intention for a general election though :-)

  4. It’s still pretty odd because unless you mimic the rather strange mayoral electoral process, you’ve no idea who ends up in first place when the second votes are counted. Given that Ken did much better than Labour did in 2008 (when the national rating for Labour was at its nadir) I can’t really see a reversal of that now, unless being Mayor carries a massive incumbency advantage.

    The really strange question is why we’re already getting monthly polls on something that doesn’t take place for 19 months. New elections could be called for parliament at any time; this is fixed. I can only assume that ComRes are pushing their new online polling hard and giving good terms on it.

  5. Anthony,

    Sorry if this is a stoopid question but is the poll weighted?

  6. Yes. It’s unclear by what, but given it’s a voting intention poll I assume it was weighting by all ComRes’s normal weighting variables.

  7. The YouGov tracking poll results for London (sample circa 250, shown on the YouGov site) seem highly volatile over time, questionably so as the volatility does not seem to bear that much resemblence to parallel changes in support over the rest of the country.

    This is a much larger poll of around 1000 people, weighted to the social characteristics of Londoners so I feel that the results can be relied upon more. If you substitute the 36/39/16 split in this poll for the 44/34/17 split for London within the last YouGov tracker (The Sun, Monday, national 41/39/12 split), then I think we would be back to a tie in national polling.

  8. Anthony thanks


    The actual election is a long way away but a lot would depend on yellow transfers in London… Surbiton and such areas as those of Simon Hughes constituency or Kramer’s old constiti. (Richmond was it?), one might expect the yellow transfers to split more for Ken… so this poll is reasonably good news for Ken, as he seeks to make up a shortfall.

  9. Anthony

    Actually I’ve just realised that it’s only two weeks since the last poll, so we may be in for these polls constantly. Unless after the gentle tongue-lashing that you gave them over the last one, they were told to go away and do one properly.

    I’m still curious as to what you think about ComRes’s (sort of) panel-free on-line polling and any inherent biases it might have.

    According to ComRes methodology:

    Respondents are selected using two methods. Firstly, respondents are selected from an online panel or more than 250,000 GB adults. Secondly, about 70% of the sample is selected through Random Online Sampling. This methodology randomly selects people through website invitations or pop-ups and profiles them using a series of demographic data questions.

    ComRes clearly don’t have their own voter panel, and, if I understand this correctly, get 30% from someone else’s and the rest from whatever the internet equivalent is of picking on people in the street. The latter group must be skewed by which websites they target people on. And of course those replying can lie about themselves even more than people in the street. Also response rate must be much lower and because it’s a completely new sample each time, you can’t build up background information the way you can with a panel.

    On the subject of ComRes, their online questioning looks as if it follows the same paths as their telephone polls. They only ask voting intention after previous vote and likelihood to vote – and after further squeeze questions for DKs or less likely to vote. I’ve commented before that this may lead to higher numbers for Lib Dems and Others, which ComRes phone polls tend to show, though I’m less certain about on-line. Whether this is “over-squeezing” and misrepresents the true situation is another topic. I don’t know what your thoughts on this are.

  10. Now that Marriage Tax has overtaken Child Benefit on the media circle how can Ed M claw the narrative back to the former? If he picks up on the £45k ‘yummy mummy’ criticism that the middle classes object to, then how can he attack marriage tax? It is a pincer of epic proportions. GO has outfoxed Euro trotting Clegg and Miliband in one 24hour swoop.

    Only one thing could have prevented it. And that would have been to broadly welcome the Child Benefit move. 1-0 blues :(

  11. Even Conservative supporting Iain Martin of the WSJ is now worried:

    h ttp://

  12. Hey im new to this.
    But does anyone know if the mayoral election is before or after the 2012 Olympics? Because i think Ken should be able to get the recognition of being Mayor at the time as he himself got us the Olympics in the first place.

  13. Looking at the hints, people losing their child benefit will not get much benefit from the proposed tax break.

    By my reckoning the to get £2000 of benefit from moving allowances, you would need to shift £8000 of tax threshold at basic rate.

    A tax break plus transfer of threshold will not amount to a hill of beans next to the loss of child benefit, unless the scheme is massively generous.

  14. I find it almost impossible to believe that 9% of Tory voters would prefer Ken Livingstone to Boris Johnson.

  15. Rob and Eoin
    I gather you two interpret this matter somewhat differently

  16. Howard,

    Somewhat. Though who is right is by no means clear so either a) pay no heed to the both of us b) hold the fort until its clearer.

    Red at the minute are deafening in their silence. Crazy when you consider they elected a new leader just over a week ago.

    I note from yougov polls that LDs are the most supportive party of the meanstesting at the moment. Higher than reds and blues.

  17. Sticking to the London apart, I think Boris Johnson is great. I find him hysterically funny, and the language he uses is totally bizarre.

    I loved the way he described the vuevuezala from the SA world cup as “intoxicating parping”

    Just priceless. Fill the HoC with 650 Boris types and the result would be the most entertaining legislature in the world.

  18. Eoin,

    Maybe I am being dim, but why can’t Ed criticise the Child Benefit cuts, and the Marriage tax?

    I would fully understand the logic and be quite happy on campaign and argue on those terms?

    In my opinion, the Child Benefit cuts are damaging to the important principle of universal benefits, and the marriage tax break is pointless. Chucking people £5 or £10 per months does nothing to keep marriages together, and it is insulting to suggest it would. It has been said it shows the State’s commitment to marriage, but this is silly, meaningless semantics to me.

    I like money to go children regardless of the marital or financial status of their parents.

    Keep it simple, keep universal child benefit!

  19. correction:

    marriage tax break

  20. Any national polls out tonight?

  21. It strikes me that the public’s enthusiasm for the cuts in welfare during the summer was based on a notion that ne’er do wells were milking the sytsem.

    I don’t think the average voter had 40% payers in mind.

    They will have now. The question is what effect on the polls? Y Cooper is complaining of unfairness. It seems to me that she should have made more noise about tax credit reductions back along as this reverse taxation is means tested and is an example of fairness..

  22. Howard

    Perhaps more widely, people interpreted “benefits” as what other people got, while they received their entitlement.

  23. Why does this poll of London voting intention have Labour up only 2% from the general election – whereas current national voting intention polls show a Labour advance of around 10%?

    Didn’t the polls during the general election campaign over-estimate the true size of the pro-Tory swing in London – and has any research been done into the reason for this error?

    If this poll is underestimating the true level of Labour strength in the capital then it is also likely to be understating Ken’s support.

  24. Gary, If your (or Ed’s) chief criticism is that universality should remain, then it is possible- yes. But, if Ed was to quibble over the stay at home mum’s losing out in CB but then complain when they win on MTA can you see the inherent contradiction? Yummy Mummies will be confussed, and he might well face charges of opportunism. Besides, he has yet to criticise it. If he plans to fight on the universality ticket- he risks opposing all cuts, since there will be other much more objectionable cuts for Labour’s support base to come. If he opposes all cuts, then he will be viewed as intransigent. Thus, he needs to naviage his way through the next couple of hundred announcements on cuts/breaks/efficiencies. If he is not governed by principle, he will slip up- pragmatists always do. If his principle is universality at all costs- I will happily support, but that would be a very brave mood indeed. It might point the way for an Ed Balls (shadow) CofE,. Right now Ed M’s hestitancy is looking less Ballsy and more indecisive. The media train si in full throttle on this and reds are silent. Yvette’s equivocation hardly merits as a coherent response.

  25. Howard,

    I think the public were duped into thinking that vast parts of our welfare bill are being paid to lazy layabouts, milking the dole.

    The truth is most of the system pays for pensioners and disabled people, at hardly excessive levels. To change the way system works for the better means investing substantially upfront, not cutting. Major cuts will hurt many people that the public were not expecting.

  26. @Eoin – ” It is a pincer of epic proportions. GO has outfoxed Euro trotting Clegg and Miliband in one 24hour swoop.
    Only one thing could have prevented it. And that would have been to broadly welcome the Child Benefit move. 1-0 blues”

    I’m sorry Eoin, but in the politest possible way I have to say that in my view your post is utter rubbish.

    Why is EdM not saying anything? Because he doesn’t have to.

    Will Clegg demand to be informed of future policy announcements in advance? Almost certainly.

    Are back bench Tory MPs more impressed by GO and more prepared to go to the barricades with him? Dream on.

    Does it create an impression to voters that the government is solid and competant? Answers on a postcard please.

    On every level this has been an organisational disaster for the Tories, and while it may not have a big impact on polls (it could even just help them temporarily) they have looked completely hapless.

    David Davis is now leading a developing revolt against the measure, saying very clearly that while the principle is fine the delivery is flawed and needs rethinking, and the stern faced determination of the conference as they steel us for the ‘tough but fair’ changes has been blown off course.

    You’ve now got the remarkable spectacle of the Tories saying they want to break another election promise to introduce a new tax break for the 40% earners to compensate for the broken election promise of the CB change, meaning that they’ve skewered their own ‘tough but fair’ argument and got rid of 75% of the savings. Why bring in a second policy with all the same problems as the one you changed?

    You fail completely to understand what politicans are about. They work on the grid, and they want to win every second of every hour of every day on that grid. Presentation is everything. I’m afraid anyone and his dog can see this was a mistake.

  27. Eoin,

    Thanks for that, I am clearer about your thinking now.

    Ed needs to make a firm decision how he wants to play it fairly soon.

    As a party we need a firm focus on a policy framework soon. This Coalition works fast, and The Labour Party needs to find some running shoes…

  28. RH
    Yes. in the last mayoral election, Con beat Lab, not Boris beat Ken. Typical referendum on Government syndrome.

  29. Alec,

    Does this article suggest to you that Clegg was fully aware of yesterday’s announcement? I suggest no. (My comment of Clegg was carefully thought out- (however valid/invalid).

    h ttp://

  30. @Alec

    “I’m sorry Eoin, but in the politest possible way I have to say that in my view your post is utter rubbish.”

    There is more of this on the previous thread.

    The inconsistent contrarian has got the better of the man.


  31. If the Tories had thought this through done a comprehensive review of the tax benefit system, linked with IDS plan, then this could have gained merit. however as it is, it seems like a rushed job brought in for political expediency.

    DC admitted that they had looked at and rejected the idea of taxing the benefit which would have raised the same amount of money but rejected it because this would have affected those further down the income scale. It need not have done so with an equalisation balance in tax bands. The benefits of universality, not least the cheapness to administer would have been kept. I also find a lot of the arguments concerning increasing population disingenuous when for quite a while the biggest population concern has been the ageing population

  32. Alec,

    GO’s June budget saw the blues record their highest polling in a year.

    GO’s NI reverse saw them jump 3-4% in the polls over red (reversing a month long tightening)’

    GO’s Inheritance Announcement halted an Oct. 2007 election and provided a lift in the polls.

    These three pieces of evidence suggest that there may be less ‘utter rubbish’ or ‘dreaming’ in my thoughts than you so eloquently allege.

  33. Alec you wrote
    ‘Will Clegg demand to be informed of future policy announcements in advance? Almost certainly’

    Alec, I had wondered whther the Speaker would be all that chuffed about it.

  34. The swing from labour to the conservatives in London was only 2.5% nationally i think was 5.0%. So the swing back to labour is about 0.5%. i think nationally about 2.5% so it seems to balance out the difference from the General election.

  35. Robin Hood – from memory, I think London polls later in the campaign suggested a swing pretty much in line with the country, whereas in reality Labour did better in London than elsewhere in England. That said, if I recall correctly there weren’t really any *proper* polls of London, just aggregated data from national polls – if weighted correctly that’s good, but not as good as a bespoke London poll.

    Anyway, as to why this shows a smaller swing to Labour, logically there are only two explanations. It could be because there actually is a smaller swing to Labour (perhaps *because* Labour resisted the Conservative tide much better in London than elsewhere, so the pendulum has less far to swing back), or it could be that the poll is underestimating Labour’s position.

  36. @Robin Hood
    In contrast to the Com Res +3% Labour lead, the last 10 or so You Gov tracking samples (of around 250 people) have been showing Conservative leads of 0% to 15% in London, over the past couple of weeks. That would represent a YouGov swing of 1% to 8.5% in London to the Conservatives on the general election result, over a period when the national swing has been some 3% to Labour.

    I agree that with your point that the ComRes poll is still suggesting that Labour is underperforming on the national swing in London, but the results nonetheless seem much more plausible than YouGov’s.

  37. Alec,

    YG have two polls relating to peoples views on cuts. They informed my opinions greatly. If you like I could post the link?

  38. Eoin
    As Alex says, Labour don’t need to say anything but watch the crash. The Telegraph is reporting Cameron waiting for Fox to crash when something? “personal or professional” comes out. They are obviously briefing against one another on an hourly basis. When the mail and telegraph are making the running Labour and best to look and learn

  39. EOIN

    Ed is biding his time – maybe he wants to move on from instant rebuttal and go in for more considered, cohresnt responses.

    Ed is building a pretty good team around him, working on the alternative deficit reduction strategy and preparing himself properly for the fights ahead.

  40. David B/ Barney,

    Potentially, EM is playing the patient game. But does that caution risk leaving reds on the wrong side of the argument? WWC will greatly support an assualt on the the top 10%s benefits.

  41. @Eoin – “Does this article suggest to you that Clegg was fully aware of yesterday’s announcement? I suggest no.”

    I know – that’s what I was saying. Clegg has been made to look stupid just two weeks after his party voted to back universality. It will be a cause of future tension and loss of trust between the coalition.

    I’ve also crunched some numbers. The Tory pre election plan for a transferable tax allowance of £750 (equalling £150 for basic rate payers) was going to cost £500m (IFS). Extend the same tax break to 40% taxpayers – about 3m of them – and you add a further £900m. So the CB and tax allowance policies combined mean £400m less for the Treasury.

    Tough, but fair?

    No Machiavellian brilliance here – it’s just a dog’s dinner.

  42. Alec,

    Timing on MTA is ’15. (at the earliest) Blues coudl argue recovery is complete by then. Timing on CB is ’13. Thus, the +£400 cost to the treasury is more or less back at what Cameron wanted for MTA committal in the first place (unless you beleived the Jan rumours of £3bn p.a. for MTA). :)

  43. I wonder what the impact of this dog breakfast, in polite terms, will be on future policy developments and announcements.

    Obviously the Coalition moves quick, but is looking ragged and uncoordinated in policy terms. Maybe DC needs to change things within the Government to solve this. More control and coordination….

  44. @Eoin – think what you like. Osbourne is obviously brilliant, all the Tory MPs love him and think he’s pulled a blinder, and having the press drown out your entire conference agenda is just part of the plan.

    I think I see the light.

  45. Gary,

    I would suggest that the coalition have been anything but quick. IDS’s benefit package is still being thrashed out. These reforms would have been agonised over for months. What we have is the most unlikely concoction of opponents… yummy mummies columists scared of losing their own benefits, and middle class labour followers. The large silent majority in the country have been polled as supporting IDS’s reforms. The majority of labour voters want to end universality according to a YG poll. GO is playing it smarter, in my view, than some credit him with.

  46. Hey im new to this.
    But does anyone know if the mayoral election is before or after the 2012 Olympics? Because i think Ken should be able to get the recognition of being Mayor at the time as he himself got us the Olympics in the first place.

    Also, my opinion of this cuts in child benefits for the 40% bracket is total rubbish (sorry if my opinion is outdated, if it is please inform me?). I dont understand why people who have worked hard to get a decent which the govt is always pushing for a larger middle class, then punish them like this, to cut the defecit when in my view the reason for the defecit is the bankers causing the recession.

    Is this right about the bankers? If not please tell what is right. Cheers.

  47. Alec,

    You may yet proved entirely right- me entirely wrong. I know who I hope is the victor of that difference- why you of course! :) I want Ed Balls as our chancellor. So I will go on being remarkably dim, facile, a dreamer, a poster of utter rubbish and a contrarian- and if I may add my own term a church goer to pray you are correct. :)

  48. It is very diffucult to voice an opinion over the attack on the welfare state without sounding partizan. But this is not about an economic necessity but party ideology.

  49. Phil,

    I would, as ever, urge people to ignore regional cross breaks in voting intention polls. Cross breaks have small sample sizes and are not internally weighted, so are not necessarily representative.

    Polls are weighted to be representative of the country as a whole, the bits within it are not necessarily representative (for example, a poll might have the correct proportion of Conservatives for Great Britain as a whole, but have too many in the Midlands and too few in the North).

    Regional cross breaks can be interesting for very broad trends, but for something as delicate as voting intention where small differences matter they should be ignored.

  50. Eoin,

    IDS’s reforms are based on years and years of good work. While I would quibble with some aspects he used to talk about regarding marriage, he clearly wants to remove the obvious benefit trap that exists, and new ways of helping those trapped for a long time at the bottom of Society.

    As for the rest of the Coalition’s policies, the above is not true. This MTA/CB situation is like the Coalition, bits and bob cobbled together in haste. They are playing fast and lose, and will score as many own goals as they do successes.

    The CSR could be chaos if not handled 100% better than this.

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