There is a new YouGov poll of London voters here, YouGov’s first for the 2012 London mayoral election.

In London’s Westminster voting intention, Labour is four points ahead of the Conservatives, at 42% (up five from the general election), the Conservatives on 38% (up 3 from the general election) and the Liberal Democrats on 13% (down 9 points, echoing the collapse in support that YouGov’s Great Britain polls have shown.

On the mayoral vote Boris Johnson is doing slightly better than the Conservative party, but still has only a narrow two point lead over Ken Livingstone in first preference votes. The current figures are Johnson 46%, Livingstone 44%, the Liberal Democrat candidate 4% and other candidates 7%. 85% of Conservative voters would back Boris Johnson, compared to 78% of Labour voters who would back Ken Livingstone. Liberal Democrat voters split evenly between Johnson and Livingstone.

In practice the proportion of people saying they will vote Liberal Democrat or “other” in the election will almost certainly rise once other candidates are in place. Livingstone and Johnson have been reselected by their respective parties unusually early with 20 to go until the Mayoral election – too say it is early days yet is an understatement.

My view is these findings are probably pretty positive for Ken Livingstone – at present the Conservatives are still ahead in national polls and about to announce huge cuts, and Boris has only a 2 point lead. By May 2012 they will probably be deep in mid-term unpopularity and I think it’s fair to imagine that the position will have moved against candidates standing on a Conservative platform. The question may well be to what extent can a mayoral contest between two charismatic, very high profile candidates with some degree of independence from their party leadership can seperate itself from the national party battle.

Looking at the other results Boris Johnson himself still has a good approval rating as mayor. 58% of respondents think he is doing a good job as mayor, with 34% thinking he is doing a bad job. On specific issues his highest approval ratings are on his handling of the bus service (54% approval) and the Olympics (51% approval). 46% approve of his handling of crime and 43% approve of his handling of the tube (the only area where he has a net negative rating).

By the standards of British politicians in power, these are pretty positive ratings. They probably don’t translate into a better voting intention figure because the public also have a positive recollection of Ken Livingstone’s period in office – 56% think Livingstone did well as mayor, compared to 36% who think he did badly. Ken Livingstone is almost slightly more likely than Boris Johnson to be seen as competent and in touch. 52% think Livingstone is competent, 44% think he is in touch with ordinary Londoners. In comparison, 45% think Johnson is competent and 40% in touch.

78 Responses to “YouGov shows a narrow Boris lead over Ken”

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  1. I’ve pretty much priced in a Labour win. Oona probably would have had slightly more appeal, but at least Boris will make a fight of it.

  2. The one thing Londoners expect of their Mayors is to keep the Tube running. So far Boris can been poor. Ken Livingstone has never been a friend of Bob Crow and sacked a lot of NUR (as it was then ) in the 1980’s.In fact if the Underground didn’t employ so many blacks he probably would have sacked a lot more.

  3. Neil A, we’ll see. My personal view is that the cuts are already priced in and that Boris is very popular in London. Were he to lose to Livngstone, I’d be extremely surprised because nobody I know wants a return to the sort of government that spends taxpayers’ money like water and supports Hugo Chavez.

  4. European capitals with center-left mayors: Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Lisbon, Nicosia, Paris, Riga, Talinn, Vienna. (Mayor of Bucharest is independent ex-socialist, Mayor of Nicosia is communist allied with socialists and liberals, Mayor of Tallinn is center-left liberal, the rest are socialists, allied with greens, liberals and/or lefties).
    Center-right mayors: Athens, Bratislava, Budapest, Helsinki, La Valeta, London, Luxembourg City, Madrid, Prague, Rome, Sofia, Stockholm, Vilnius, Warsaw. (Mayors of London and Prague are conservatives, Mayor of Luxembourg City is liberal, the rest are EPP with various center-right partners).
    Finally, Mayor of Ljubljana is independent.
    So, if Ken Livingston is elected in 2012, and assuming that no other capital changes colors, there will be a draw 13-13 instead of the actual 14-12 in favor of center-right.
    (Again my Euro-statistics frenzy!!)

  5. Boris appears out now, campaigned against an official labour candidate for the mayor of tower hamlets

    stupid way to end your career

  6. Thanks Anthony.

    Based on the part of the the YouGov poll that gives Labour a 4% lead in London is there any analysis of how many MPs the parties would have in London if this was replicated in a General Election, including individual seat losses/gains?

    I realise of course that there will always be individual exceptions to any London swing to Labour eg Simon Hughes would likely hold in Bermondsey due to his personal vote.

  7. @ Ianrobo – I think you mean Ken rather than Boris … but do you really think that Ken would be that stupid? I spose we’ll just have to wait and see.

  8. Much more plausible than the much bigger gaps in the two ComRes polls. Boris was basically lucky to win last time because the election was at the time of maximum Labour unpopularity. He does have the advantage though that his weak tube rating will hurt him less in the tube-free outer boroughs like Bromley – and these are his strongest areas of support.

    The smaller London swing in the figures for national voting may just be the reflection of better Labour election organisation in May and so a higher base to start from. As I keep on boring you with, 33 of the 48 largest CLP membership are in London.

    The straight choice question between Boris and Ken still gives Boris a 46% – 41% lead, but if you factor in the people who would prefer Boris as Mayor, but would vote for Ken (hey, don’t shoot the messenger) it goes down to 45%-42%. With Labour’s superior organisation in London, that looks even to me at the moment.

    The Lib Dems have put off choosing their sacrificial victim for up to a year, so it may be a while before definitive polling can be done, but I suspect the election is for Labour and Ken to lose (which will be a pity for all of us looking forward to those Boris Olympic embarrassments – in both sense of Olympic)

  9. Yellows are on the march! at this rate they’ll be back to their GE score by Haloween ;)

    Yellow 12%
    Blues 41%
    Reds 39%

    Gov approv. -2%

  10. @SYZYGY – opps

    well people like Luke Akehurst and Tom Harris think so

    find out soon enough

  11. Of course London has a Spatial Strategy (Plan) which Pickles can do nothing about.

    So it’s the old chestnut of transport that is the issue there (even in Bromley).

    I’ll bet Hammond has left London wll alone in the CSR.

    BTW Rob S I had visitors today and will return to Plans and their effect on housing budget afyter CSR.

  12. @Anthony
    On the YouGov Gov’t trackers page, the current voting intentions graph has Lab ahead. A mistake I presume.

    @Eoin -“Yellows are on the march!”
    That’s the first time I’ve noticed you being sarcastic.
    But those LDs still on 12%. You’ve got to be impressed by their loyalty. (Don’t worry, I won’t be making any more tasteless comparisons to teenage girlfriends again.)

    Ken’s going to win by the look of the present state of the London polls. Unless he makes a big mistake, highly unlikely I would imagine. :)

  13. Julian,

    I must point out that at midday tomorrow. Yellows are actualy on the march. National Union of students march from midday against tuition fees. LD uni activists spearheading the campaign.

    More metaphorical (in my usual porridge way) than sarcasm.

  14. Ken looked a bit doddery today and I suspect his energy levels will be an issue in 2012. Boris has a few trump cards to play before and during 2012, major developments coming on stream creating thousands of jobs, London Bridge Quarter, The Shard, Cheapside, the Olympic dividend etc. etc.,…..all good news for the incumbent, the Boris’s bike scheme has been very successful. Here in Southwark, Boris is very popular, especially among BME groups, so all in all, with a good campaign, Boris is the likely winner, IMO, of course.

  15. @Howard -“So it’s the old chestnut of transport that is the issue there (even in Bromley)”
    Yes, London, it’s always been transport transport transport.
    I lived in London for 10 years in the 80s. I loved it. Why did I leave?
    The unbelievable amount of time and money it takes to get anywhere.

  16. Though I live nowhere near London, I feel entitled to express an opinion as it is the capital of my country (for now).
    Wasn’t there a lot of corruption involving Ken giving funds to fake organisations via his deputy, or have I remembered that wrong?
    And how does that stack up against Boris’s infidelities? Or don’t these things matter to ‘sophisticated’ (i.e. decadent) Londoners?

  17. @Eoin
    Of course. Thought it was unlike you.
    I used to live in Southwark . Boris is popular in there? What, in Peckham? ;)

  18. @Howard….Do you mean Town Plan, I prefer the friendliness of the term, rather than the strangely sterile term, Spacial Strategy.

  19. Incidentally, for anyone who feels strongly about the absence of Graduate Tax from the Browne agenda, you should try to make it to your local campus at midday. the greater the numbers the better.

  20. Ken

    It was a troll just for you but that’s what it is – just ask our expert Rob S.

  21. @KEN
    I agree. Spacial Strategy is terrible. Name’s matter. I’m sure we all started to get treated much worse not long after Personnel Departments started to call themselves Human Resources.

  22. Yougov seem to messing their graphs up a lot recently – the latest figures come accompanied with a graph showing the Labour line at 41%, and the Tories at 39%.

  23. Eoin

    I’ll wander down to the field where we hold the Flower Show and ask Daisy what she thinks about it. Time for a Giles cartoon I think (RIP)

  24. @Howard…………To paraphrase you know who…….I agree with Julian. :-)

  25. Howard,

    go to your local council office premises, I am sure they will have a gathering there.

  26. @Ken

    “Ken looked a bit doddery today”

    Oh hard luck mate. Maybe you caught a chill from sitting on the naughty step’

  27. @Howard……..Years ago a schoolfriend and neighbour of mine led the development of a new town, he started off as a council clerical officer and worked his way up to head of planning. We used to make jokes about his role, does the cul-de-sac mean the end of the road, etc., very funny, I know you’ll agree. Mind you he retired a wealthy man, he’s dead now but we used to say that his greatest skill was trousering brown envelopes offered by architects and construction companies, hence his nickname,,,,Merlin.

  28. @Valerie…………Can’t afford to drop you guard on here ! :-) :-)

  29. trident is toast

  30. Interesting that the government has found an extra £2.1 billion for adult social care and in particular care for the elderly provided by local authorities.

    It’ll mean that the website due to come on stream early next year (coalitionmortalityregister) will have fewer properly evidenced deaths caused by the cuts to report – which is a very good thing. Personally I think that a website like this is pretty macabre and whilst cuts in things like road safety, mental health and probation could all lead to tragedies I’m not sure we need some organisation to keep a list?

  31. @RICHARD IN NORWAY……Does that mean it’ll land butter side up when they drop it ? :-)

  32. @RICHARD IN NORWAY…….Of course, butter side down ! :-)

  33. Thus far, from all the news I heave heard about the CSR… I would score the gov.

    8/10 for fairness.

    I never wanted cuts, I think they’re daft. But without anything concrete from AJ earlier, these aint as bad as I feared. When all stats are said and done I would love to see an overall %. I doubt strongly that it is 25%

  34. ken

    not sure, but i think it is cut into long strips and dunked in eggs

  35. Ken and Julian (spatial not spacial Julian) is not half as bad as that which I received from the local power company today. They are cutting down hedges which interfere with power lines. It’s called the ‘Vegetation Management department’.

  36. I asked yesterday ‘where is the extra coming from’ (CSR cuts) -no answer yet and Newsnight is guessing.

    BTW if it were not so sad, I could have laughed at Lord West and Andrew Mitchell as they talked up GB as a ‘Global Power’.

    This is almost as pathetic as our drugs policy.

  37. @Howard………..I think Tony Blair gave a good impression of someone leading a global super-power, sorting out Iraq, Africa, Middle East, but, just like his chancellor he believed his own bull***t, and, when the dust settled, he was just another politician on the take. Drugs policy, have we got one ?

  38. Between cutting defence, halting Trident2 and apparently abandoning prison policy, whilst preserving spending on health, schools and care provision, these seem fairly “Liberal” cuts, rather than “Tory” ones. Perhaps Clegg, Cable and Alexander have had more influence than we’ve credited them with?

    In a way I like the irony of building new carriers whilst scrapping the ones we have now. It sends a sort of “we’re too broke to do wars for a bit but talk to us in a decade and we’ll see what we can do” message. That somehow makes a crazy sense to me.

  39. Yellow 12% Blues 41% Reds 39%
    Gov approv. -2%
    Labour are showing remarkable tenacity.

    Ken’s mayoral candidacy will be the first big test of Labour’s grassroots strategy. If it doesn’t work in London, I can’t see how Ed & Andy can expect it to work elsewhere! 8-)

  40. Spot on with all that Ken.
    BTW I wonder why the Speaker does not get annoyed about all these announcements, dressed up as leaks. The carrier ‘leak’ has now been fully debated by TV before MPs have heard a word from the minister.

  41. Great news about Trident! :) :)

  42. Anthony. any idea why the yougov polling tracker page has figures of c 41, lab 39 (the published figures), but the graph on the same page clearly shows labour ahead.

    [Hodges – it means someone has buggered up the graph! I shall go and metaphorically slap their legs – AW]

  43. @ Eoin

    Great news about Trident!

    Don’t count your chickens. Its not dead in the water yet. (sorry for the pun) :D

    Overall if what is being trailed is correct, I am not desperately unhappy with the results of the strategic defence review.

    The main point that most commentators have just not hoisted in yet is that conventional nation on nation war is extremely unlikely in the short to mid term future.

    The second point is that clearly this Govt intends to see the back of Afgainistan in 2015 and has no intention of involving itself in any more overseas adventures in the short to mid term future.

    It is stuck with the aircraft carriers that Lab order for political reasons to keep shipbuilders busy. If we don’t intend any more overseas adventures then there is no need for them.

    Pulling out of Germany is obvious. It should have happend at least 5 years ago.

    The main threats to or national security have correctly IMO been identified as unconventional terrorist and cyber attack against the homeland. This includes threats against intelectual property, energy and food security, and international organised crime

    The Defence of the realm is not just about lots of smart chaps in uniform doing their thing, very important though this is.

    It seems to me that we are at last beginning to see a coherent strayeg based on a co-ordinated muiti agency plan to secure the nation and to fight the likely current and future threats and not the wars of the past

  44. NEILA

    “In a way I like the irony of building new carriers whilst scrapping the ones we have now. It sends a sort of “we’re too broke to do wars for a bit but talk to us in a decade and we’ll see what we can do” message. ”

    That’s about it.

    Labour contracted for the carriers without thinking through/funding the the things they would carry.

    They also left penalty clauses meaning it was cheaper to build than cancel.

    Press comment is -that’s what you get with an RAF man at the top of MOD-and Labour in charge of the finance.

    Shambolic disgrace.

    ….and as for the “coalition mortality register” -it’s a good job no one thought of a Labour Government Mortality Register !

    …..Fantastic news on Huhn’e change of heart on Nuclear Power. As Lib Dems join the real world where you are responible for keeping the lights on, they can safely leave the self indulgent , the impractical, and the downright bonkers to protest parties who do not aspire to power, like the Greens………and Labour ;-)

  45. John

    “It seems to me that we are at last beginning to see a coherent strayeg based on a co-ordinated muiti agency plan to secure the nation and to fight the likely current and future threats and not the wars of the past”

    Yes-on a first look-they have put some decent thinking in.

    Given the time available, and the unbelievable legacy of financial incompetence in MOD-not bad.

  46. Defence
    Business & Skills

    Above are the departments that we know quite a bit regarding the detail of their proposed cuts. These departments cost £424bn annually. If leaked details regarding Education etc.. are to be believed as well as cuts to post 16yr old’s benefits etc.. then the total in omentary terms of savings from these departments is c. £21.4bn or in onetary terms 5%.

    Defence 37 2.775 7.5%
    Business 21.2 4.2 20%
    DWP 195 15 7.50%
    NHS 106.4 0 0%
    Overseas 7.7 0 0%
    Education 57.5 -0.5 -0.7%

    These depts. remain unkown in % terms…

    Transport 13.6
    Communities 33.6
    Culture 1.5
    Energy 3.1
    Justice 9.7
    Home Office 10.2

    These depts. account for £71.7bn

    Even if some of them hit a high % figure…. I am struggling to see where £62bn is going to come from, given that that is what is needed to reach the £83bn.

    Can any of our accountants, help me out?

  47. Eoin clark:

    It’s not an accountant we need its more a magician…as al lot of this is smoke and mirrors.

  48. @ Colin

    Given the time available, and the unbelievable legacy of financial incompetence in MOD-not bad.


    The incompetence at the MOD extends way beyond financial incompetence.

    Outside DIFD, which is an Augean Stable of politically motivated Guardianistas the MOD would be second on my list for a root and branch cull of civil servants, not for political correctness, just gross incompetence.

  49. John Murphy,

    Well Coulson/Hitlon have certainly gone into overdrive. The Telegraph and Mail have been brought to heel I note in this mornings papers. I think a payoff of heavy breifing to those two papers has been a bartering chip for keeping hush about various moves which financially hurt their readership. I observed it in the very late run in may, the Mail & Teley can been like dogs off a leash at times and then as meek as a lamb when required.

  50. The tables are up for YG’s latest poll. It includes question son Afghanistand , Cuts and AV. I won’t comment on it for a while until everyone else has had a look. Maybe someone else wants to offer some comments on it:

    h ttp://

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