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.