A new YouGov London poll has been released here. Westminster voting intention in London, with changes from March, stand at CON 32%(+1), LAB 51%(+3), LDEM 8%(-1), a slightly bigger swing to Labour than the general GB polls are showing.

However, in the Mayoral race Boris continues to lead, with 48% to Ken’s 41%. The diference is because Liberal Democrat voters break in favour of Boris, and about a fifth of Labour’s Westminster voters would vote for Boris in the mayoral elections.

The figures probably flatter the amount of the vote that both Boris and Ken would get given that other candidates remain unannounced, but it does appears that Boris is maintaining a lead independent of his party.


163 Responses to “YouGov show Boris ahead in London”

1 2 3 4
  1. Mind you, the Labour lead in London looks pretty big now. I wouldn’t be complacent if I were Boris – a concerted campaign to get Labour voters behind Ken and it could be very different.

  2. Predicting the outcome of a mayoral election at such an early stage is almost impossible. Generally incumbents tend to be ahed in VI and the real match is fought during the electoral campaign. Two recent examples: Milan (May 2011) and Athens (November 2010), where incumbent center-right mayors were continuously ahead, yet lost the election as a result of a movement towards center-left that was made visible only during the very last days of the campaign.
    Other than that, I was very displeased with the recent comments of BJ on Greece and Eurozone. Who stays in and who leaves the Eurozone is a matter of its members. What BJ would say if the major of, say, Rome, Athens or Barcelona declared that the UK is over and that Scotland should leave it? Yet this is a much more legitimate thing to say, after the result of May’s Scottish election.

  3. Can I just check is the base all voters in Westminster or all voters in London? Not clear for the Mayoral election.

  4. Mike – the base is all respondents in London. The 48% to 41% figure is rebased to exclude people who said they wouldn’t vote in a mayoral election or don’t know how they’d vote.

  5. I suppose Boris does enjoy 1st time incumbnancy like Ken did in 2004 which could make it difficult for Ken to get back in but I still expect it to be fairly close either way.

    I think the odds of Boris on 4/7 and Ken on 5/4 reflect the situation well at the moment.

  6. Not really my area – London mayoral, but a more general point regarding Ken’s candidacy.

    The voters of London did reject him – he may therefore be perceived as either a loser – or as someone from a bygone age and that perception may lead him to be a liability rather than an asset viz-a-viz the standing of his party. In other words the exact opposite of his situation when first elected as mayor without the Labour badge. I would expect him therefore to be a drag rather than an asset across London next May for Labour.

    It seems bizarre to me that London Labour actually chose Ken when other fresher candidates were available. They may pay for that decision by losing the mayoral election from a position of relative party strength in London.

    However bizarre I find the decision to choose Ken, of course, it is infinitely less bizarre than the very idea of Boris being elected to any office – but hey – I am not a Londoner – their city, their choices!

  7. I live in London and have long predicted that Boris will win a second term if Ken Livingstone is his opponent.

    Livingstone is tarnished after 8 years in office and I sense little appetite for a return to him. Boris however has been with us for only 3 years and is the populist candidate. He’s also not afraid to speak out against the Government. He should, and in my opinion, deserves to, win, if Ken is his opponent.

  8. YES! Boris is our mayor forever true.

    The reason for such a strong sign of support for Boris is that he’s not made any mistakes. London has generally been isolated from the cuts and not felt any of the pain, crime figures are falling rapidly and Boris is taking credit, especially by banning alcohol on public transport. Jobs are being created, despite delays crossrail is going ahead. He’s actually done quite a green job, that doesn’t mean the green party will support him, it just means they have a lot less ammunition to fire than they would like. Then you have to factor in Liberals migrating to Conservatives, and finally, Mr Johnson’s popularity.

    Also as much as the press tries to smear him and portray him as a bumbling buffoon, it may have worked last time, but theres been no real sign of that at all during his mayoralty.

    My favourite quote from the 2008 election, comparing Boris with Ken “I’d rather have a smart man acting like a buffoon than a buffoon acting like a smart man.”

    Basically it’s saying Boris may be portrayed as a buffoon but is actually quite clever, Ken tries to come across intellectual, but actually very few can take him seriously, and yes, he is seen as the loser. For many Londoners it’s like

    “We got rid of Ken from the GLA, then Labour didn’t even want him for mayor, but then he got back in his Mayor, then we got rid of him again, now he’s back for attempt number 3”

    Making a comeback is fine, as Ken did in 2000, but making a 2nd comeback just puts him as the Britney of London politics

  9. Three reasons for Ken to be optimistic (good to hear if anyone disagrees!)

    1) The Lib Dems currently split in Bojo’s favour.. but many of these will obviously be voting for the Lib Dem candidate and a poll in whcih the name isn’t there is going to skew things somewhat.

    2) Labour have a big lead in London. If two thirds of the 18% of Labour voters who claim to be wanting to vote for Boris can be persuaded to vote for the Labour candidate –which should be easier to do in the campaign run-up – then its a game changer.

    3) Boris will have the word “Conservative Party Candidate” next to his name. Not much he can do about that, and it’s not going to help him one bit.

  10. But Mike, London has a form of the dreaded AV, so it does not matter if Liberals will go for the Liberal candidate as this poll shows that in the run off round, Liberals will go mainly to Boris.

    The first round is almost irrlevant, it will go straight to Boris vs Ken in the final which this is a poll between. Conservative voters obviously will stick with Boris, you can’t change your vote, but libs will mainly go Conservative.

  11. @ Mike Hartley

    1) As I understand it the mayoral elections are AV or similar so there’s no reason why in the final ballot between Boris and Ken the lib dems won’t break as they say they will.

    2) The reverse could also be true and Boris could take more votes away from Ken in the campaign.

    3) I disagree. Everyone has always known Boris is a Tory.

  12. I too wonder why Labour are trying Ken again. Personally I think 8 years is enough for anyone to run anything, even if they are doing a reasonable job, it’s time to move over and let someone else come along with a fresh perspective. It may have been better to try someone else.

  13. Very interesting to see the Westminster breakdown and Labour’s bigger swing here since 2010. It has to be born in mind that London moved less to Cameron anyway (disappointing London results were one of the reasons he failed to get his majority) and this poll suggests that the movement back to Labour since then is stronger than elsewhere.

    I think there is now clear and long term evidence that Cameron has a significant problem emerging in London. I don’t actually think having a Boris second term will help him either. Firstly, because Boris is a personal rival and secondly as I would think that come the next GE, having Ken in power in London would probably help the Tory Westminster vote, based simply on the ebb and flow of party support in the various electoral cycles.

    I said many time before the 2010 election that I thought the Tories had a serious long term problem unless they to performed significantly better in places like Scotland and London. They haven’t, and as a result they still have substantial difficulties in seeing their way to getting a majority. Recent postings on the seat reductions also suggest that this won’t be the magic bullet either.

    EdM is currently a problem for Labour, that may or may not prove to be a long term issue. However, I think the problems for the Tories are much more deep seated. The best possible scenario for an opposition in 2010 and a generally popular young leader and they failed to wind substantial parts of the country and blew the majority. Further signs since then that they have actually gone backwards in those areas.

    I never say never, but unless some dramatic things happen in these regions I am becoming doubtful that we will see a decent Tory majority for a very long time. My view – big mistake for Cameron not to back voting reform and one that his party will live to regret.

    Also worth noting – yesterday Mike Smithsom posted on PB that in his view Cameron needs a 5 – 6% poll lead merely to hold the gains from Labour from 2010, let alone move to a majority.

  14. Alec

    I think you’re exaggerating the Tories’ problems in London.

    In my constituency (Battersea) the Labour MP was swept away with a 7,000 majority.

    If there is an economic upturn it is likely that voters in London will be among the first to feel it. Yes the cuts will hurt the Tories in London but conversely an upturn will help them.

    London can’t be compared with Scotland where the Tories have lost critical mass.

  15. ….and about a fifth of Labour’s Westminster voters would vote for Boris in the mayoral elections.
    ———————————————
    I’d like to see Ken win, of course. I think the Labour voters who are currently backing Boris could be persuaded to change their minds.

    That Labour is showing a huge lead in London on VI is ‘earth-shattering’ for me. Cross-breaks within YG daily polls generally show VI to be neck & neck.
    8-)

  16. @sergio – don’t agree at all. A swing of 2.5% in London (half the national average) in the best circumstances for an opposition party for several generations (much better on paper than 1997) must have been a very disappointing performance.

    This was blogged by Tim Donovan (BBC) at the time – “But it’s only a return to a position pre-Blair in outer London and not a sign that the Tories have found the formula to govern post-Blair for the whole capital.
    Despite (or is it because of?) a Conservative mayor.
    Given all the money and time invested in seats like Hammersmith, Westminster North, Eltham and Tooting, failing to win them was a serious set-back. If not now, when?

    These were the seats which effectively signalled that David Cameron would have no majority.”

    As for whether a recovery will help or hinder the Tories in London, who knows. In general, a recovery will always help the government. To date London house prices have been rising, but so are rental values. This only exacerbates the anxieties of those being left behind on the housing ladder, so recoveries can have negative effects in highly unbalanced economic regions such as London.

    Recovery or not, the Tories need to find out why the London swing to them was half the national swing in 2010 and yet since then it appears that the London swing against them is outstripping the national swing back to Labour.

    With so many seats at stake on it’s own, this would be a significant issue for them. Given that they are also frozen out of Scotland, many parts of the north and seem to have lost most of their momentum in Wales, it becomes a much graver set of circumstances. As Labour found with the South, under UK electoral dynamics you simply cannot afford to reliquish too many parts of the country and still hope to get a solid majority. Worth remembering that it is now 24 years since the Tories won a solid majority that lasted a full parliament. This is a long term problem for them.

  17. Ah well. Would be a lot more fun if we get a result where the Conservatives would have lost under FPTP but win under the run-off system. Guess I’ll have to stick to challenging the legitimacy of David Cameron’s election as Conservative Party leader.

  18. BTW – very tickled by Cameron’s ‘you do the fighting and I’ll do the talking’ quip in response to military commanders stating that the RAF is overstretched.

    One recalls a certain General Dannat and complaints at the time that using military chiefs for political purposes was the start of a slippery slope.

  19. “CON 32%(+1), LAB 51%(+3), LDEM 8%(-1)”

    And there was me thinking that the South East of England was a Labour desert land populated almost exclusively by God fearing, law abiding, royalty loving, Euro hating, blue blooded Englishmen of the noblest and finest sort!

    So, what are we to make of the fact that 51% of the population of our vast capital, nestling as it does in the warm bosom and very heartland of the Tory fiefdom that is South East England, now appear to be saying that they would vote Labour if there was a General Election tomorrow? Is the “sea of blue” on our electoral map a little misleading, perhaps? Maybe we should focus a little more on where people actually live in vaguely appreciable numbers before we caricature the political composition of our regions! lol

  20. Crossbat, don’t get too excited. Labour have always polled better in London than the rest of the south-east. Virtually every political analyst treats Greater London and the rest of the south-east as two separate entities as far as party support is concerned. Whilst there is a chance that Labour support in the capital might spill over into the surrounding countries, it arguably hasn’t happened before and I see no reason why it will be any different this time.

  21. @Alec

    “Worth remembering that it is now 24 years since the Tories won a solid majority that lasted a full parliament. This is a long term problem for them.”

    Careful, Alec, you may be stirring a bit of a hornets nest here. I vaguely implied something similar many moons ago and still have the sound of shellfire ringing in my ears and the aroma of fire and brimstone in my nostrils!

    Good luck because I fear you may be treading on very sensitive ground. A cascade of denial and opprobrium is about to be unleashed upon you!

  22. @Amber

    It’s interesting the disparity – take the last poll which follows patterns we’ve been seeing for a fair bit.

    Con minus Lab
    -27 Scotland
    -26 North
    -13 Midlands/Wales
    +17 East/South
    +2 London

    If London is actually -19, it leaves the East/South looking very out of step with the rest of the UK.

  23. @Crossbat11 – “Good luck because I fear you may be treading on very sensitive ground. A cascade of denial and opprobrium is about to be unleashed upon you!”

    Twas ever thus….

  24. “very tickled by Cameron’s ‘you do the fighting and I’ll do the talking’ quip in response to military commanders stating that the RAF is overstretched. “One recalls a certain General Dannat and complaints at the time that using military chiefs for political purposes was the start of a slippery slope.”

    What delicious irony.
    ”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Seeing these VI figs for London reminded me that AW last week commented (IIRC) on a thread here that the movement of (Lab supporting) people from the cities had the potential to affect voting outcomes in ‘rural’ constituencies. (I paraphrase, but hope the gist is ok.)

  25. Alec

    We never agree.

    I don’t deny that London is a struggle – it is indeed a key struggle, always has been, always will be – but I think you should be very far indeed from writing off the Conservatives’ chances there. Just because they are not doing well there now does not mean they cannot again in the forseeable future. You should know that.

  26. “And there was me thinking that the South East of England was a Labour desert land populated almost exclusively by God fearing, law abiding, royalty loving, Euro hating, blue blooded Englishmen of the noblest and finest sort!”

    What a crass and ignorant comment. Have you ever been to London?

    I suspect if I made a similar generalisation about somewhere outside the South East I’d be stigmatised with some sort of “-ism” – but then as we all know you’re only an “-ist” if you don’t support Labour.

  27. Oh God, All is lost.

  28. @Sergio – “Just because they are not doing well there now does not mean they cannot again in the forseeable future”

    Absolutely agree – that’s why I said I never say never. The problem is that it isn’t just London in isolation, but problems here combined with several other areas.

    The bottom line is that not since 1992 has a Tory PM had a majority, and even then it was a 21 seat majority that included 11 Scottish seats, so no majority without something significant in Scotland. I actually think that a Tory majority without a few seats in Scotland and a few more in the north of England is actually highly unlikely, even if they do achieve parity with national polls in London. Without this in London – extremely difficult indeed.

    In terms of getting a good, working majority, I really do think the Tories have a problem and I have said this for many years. [I was pretty much alone on this board when Cameron was 20% ahead in 2008 suggesting that Scotland and the north would deny Cameron a majority when most of the discussions were tending towards pondering if his victory margin would be nearer the 100 or 150 seat mark].

    For the sake of balance, current YouGov polls aside it appears that Labour would also fail to get a majority if other polls are to be believed. Labour certainly has a problem with the south, and this is sufficient to deny it a majority also.

    However, my view is that it will be easier for Labour to pick up sufficient support in southern towns (Southhampton, Portsmouth, in Kent and the South East coast etc) than it will be for Cameron to make gains in Scotland, the North and London.

    Bottom line is that, post Brighton 2010, it’s clear that only the Greens have a sufficient pan national presence to form the next government.

  29. @myself – “The bottom line is that not since 1992 …”

    &
    “Bottom line is that, post Brighton 2010…”

    Too many bottom lines. Talking out of my *rse?

  30. London is quite polarised demographically but Ed MIliband probably does still have more appeal in London overall than other parts of Britain so I broadly agree with Alec’s points.

    I would have thought it actually might easier for labour to win some of the back more middle class urban/suburban marginals in London and the north than some of these southern WWC seats where there was a big swing to the tories in 2010.

    on anything approaching this swing labour would get back the 2010 losses to the tories as well as Ilford N and the LDs would hold only Twickenham and Kingston and Surbiton.

    I broadly agree with Alec overall about regional polarisation and that NEITHER party is likely to get a majority at the next election but I’d say there is only potential for a few Labour gains in the SE region and another few in the home counties.

  31. I think it was Rob Sheffield who said the country is split down the middle, and he’s right. Nationally it is at present a very tight contest and positions (public vs private sectors, south v north) are becoming ever more entrenched and polarised.

    I do not think that it will be easy for Labour to win back many seats it lost in the South – quite the contrary. For example I regard it as extremely unlikely that Labour would reclaim Battersea or Putney at the next GE, and with ever-changing demographics I regard places like Tooting and Westminster North as very much up for grabs if the economy recovers.

    Much play is made of 1987, 1992 etc but at the end of the day the Tories polled 42% in 1992 and 29% in 1997, a precipitous decline from which they are still recovering. The way Labour governed and spent money from 1997-2010 has I think made it harder for them to turn it around, but it’s not impossible. They just have to govern successfully.

  32. I wasn’t suggesting Labour could regain Putney although Battersea is almost in range.

    The other 2010 losses should not be hard for Labour to get back if the LD vote is squeezed.

    Alec’s point about the tories being unlikely to get a mjaority at the next election is perfectly valid though, Sergio, relaisitcally I would say 39% is the best case scenario.

  33. @ A Cairns

    “Alec’s point about the tories being unlikely to get a mjaority at the next election is perfectly valid though, Sergio, relaisitcally I would say 39% is the best case scenario.”

    WIth the next GE possibly 4 years away, I just don’t know how you can say that with a straight face.

    If you don’t believe me then look at the history of opinion polls over the course of the last few parliaments (linked to this site) and see how much they can change in ine parliament. A great deal more than 3 points.

  34. Alec’s point about the tories being unlikely to get a mjaority at the next election is perfectly valid though, Sergio, relaisitcally I would say 39% is the best case scenario.

    —-

    I don’t know about the exact figure, but your general point is valid.

    The Conservatives have not won a majority since 1992. And they have not won comfortably since 1988.

    I sense a loss of appel there bordering on the permanent. (As much as anything in politics can be called permanent).

    However… don’t forget that new boundaries will apply at the next GE. And the changes being made may well ensure that Labour, too, will ever again be unable to form a comfortable majority government.

    There will be many more coalitions in this century and LibDems may become a feature of government.

  35. “There will be many more coalitions in this century”

    I think that’s one thing we can all safely agree on.

    And who knows, if we had PR, the parties might be properly represented too!

  36. I can certainly envisage the outcome of Cameron getting a 2nd term just not a majority .

    I’m sceptical that there will be significant poll shifts (i.e. more than a few % in either direction perhaps with the tories leading half the time)due to the regional polarisation and nature of the coalition

  37. @Sergio

    ““And there was me thinking that the South East of England was a Labour desert land populated almost exclusively by God fearing, law abiding, royalty loving, Euro hating, blue blooded Englishmen of the noblest and finest sort!”

    What a crass and ignorant comment. Have you ever been to London?”

    For pity’s sake, has a sense of irony disappeared entirely from these pages again? I wasn’t for one minute claiming that London, or the South East for that matter, was populated by the stereotypes I listed, I was trying, obviously unsuccessfully, to be ironic. The point I was attempting to make was that a number of people claim that the South East of England is virtually a Conservative mono-culture and this latest YouGov poll might be suggesting that the political diversity of a large South Eastern metropolis like London casts doubt on that generalisation. Tory supporters come in many shapes and sizes. I was merely listing some particularly stereotypical ones; probably like some do when they refer to flat cap wearing, chain smoking, whippet racing, Labour voting Northerners. Lord Tory could suggest even more lurid ones, I’m sure!

    Hey, ho and back to irony lessons for a crass and ignorant so and so like me, I suppose.

  38. Here’s a thought…

    If there is now a greater likelihood of neither lab nor Cons achieving an OM (and I don’t necessarily agree with this view) will we see the LDs (assuming the LDs still hold the role of kingmaker after the next GE) demanding PR as the price of coalition?

  39. Mike N,

    Even if the LDs don’t hold the balance of power, the nationalists or some other group of minor parties will, and they will be willing to club up with the LDs in favour of PR. The only exception to this, I think, would be a Tory hung parliament where the unionist parties of Ulster are the kingmakers. (I’m assuming that a Labour MG with unionist support is out of the question, given how uncomfortable Labour were in relying on Ulster votes to get through legislation in the last parliament. A second GE would be tough but less awkward for Labour in 2015.)

  40. Boris will win hands down.

    I live in Central London.

    Most Londoners I talk to, of all political persuasions, like Boris.

    Yes he is a bufoon. But he is our bufoon.

  41. @John,

    +1 for Boris. Ken belongs to the 70s and has no place at the helm of one of the world’s premier and ultra-capitalist cities.

    I’m a Boris Watcher, and this ongoing perception that is based solely around his mannerisms and none of his abilities, is akin to describing Bill Clinton solely as ‘a cigar aficionado’.

  42. Comments regarding the likelihood or more coalitions in the future are interesting.

    Cameron was widely seen as having failed in 2010, due to not securing a majority. I do wonder whether, if this pattern continues, Cameron will survive as Tory leader after a second failure to secure a majority or if the public becomes more accepting of hung parliaments and dismisses the majority/no majority issue as the key means to measure success of failure of leaders.

    Perhaps is comes down to expectation before the vote and whether they match the result, but maybe also if the spread of party support means that coalitions become increasingly inevitable, perhaps we will end the obsession with single party government and all the judgements that flow from that.

  43. I think there are two crucial differences between the Mayor of London elections and most local elections:

    1) The London Mayor elections are far more focused on individuals than council elections. Most people know who Ken and Boris are whether or not they live in London. On the other had, most people don’t know the names of the party leaders on their own councils. (I struggle to remember the names of mine, and I’m a political anorak.) This makes it easier for a candidate to defy national trends if the party he represents is doing badly nationally.

    2) The Mayor of London actually does have some power. Local councils have their hands tied by Government on so many matters they have very little discretion, and the little power they do hold is mostly in the hands of unelected chief executives. The only dividing line that local parties have is to argue over who’s better at providing the same services. It’s therefore little wonder that most local council elections are treated as opinion polls for national government.

    So I wouldn’t look too much into the London Mayor elections as an indication of national popularity. It will be a victory for Boris or a victory for Ken, but little more.

  44. The selection of Ken Livingston might indeed pose problem to Labour. I know from experience drawn from French and Greek mayoral elections that former mayors are sometimes re-elected, but almost never at the election immediately after their defeat. Paradoxical as it may seem, they have more chances if they skip 2 or 3 elections!!

  45. I think the reason that Boris is probably doing so well despite the swing toward Labour is that Boris (like Ken) is largely now independent of his party – he’s willing to go against the party line and stick up for the city.

    I do find the London VI interesting/strange though –
    London in 1997 was –
    Lab 49.5, Con 31.2
    In 2010 it was –
    Lab 36.6, Con 34.5

    So that means a 14.4% swing to Lab from 2010 and if they got that result at a GE, it would be better than 1997.

    So I’m not convinced that the support is as high as the poll suggests.

  46. Im currently working for the Welsh Conservatives. I only know of one seat which is my own Cardiff North but they’ve been told that the seat will take in the Radyr, Pentyrch and Creigiau wards from Labour held Cardiff West to Cardiff North which will leave Cardiff with a much stronger Conservative seat, those wards moving from Cardiff West to Cardiff North will increase the Conservative vote in Cardiff North by a lot as Radyr is second in terms of household wealth in Wales. Meaning Cardiff North will have Lisvane (the most wealthiest district in Wales and also the 2nd most wealthy). Pentyrch and Creigiau are rural wards and always vote in Conservative councillors. That means the Tories will make a safe seat in Cardiff. But Labour will have an untouchable seat in Cardiff West as the strong Tory areas will be removed. No doubt those boundary changes are going to be made to benefit the Tories.

  47. @ Alec

    Too many bottom lines. Talking out of my *rse?
    ———————————————
    A syndrome which is embarrassingly common in my profession. :-)

  48. In the original question, before the second preferences are taken into account, just 1% of the electorate said they would vote for the Lib Dem candidate, whoever he is!

  49. @Mike N

    I imagine the LDs might still be able to demand STV PR for Metropolitan councils if labour is the largest party even if reform of westminster is now delayed for 20+ years. even if they are reduced to a rump of 20 seats.

    Harder to see the tories agreeing to a similar deal.

    The SNP might also be a player in a hung parliament which makes things even more complicated.

    I agree with Alec that Cameron has taken a too short term view on electoral reform to appease his party.

  50. @Richard “Im currently working for the Welsh Conservatives. I only know of one seat which is my own Cardiff North but they’ve been told that the seat will take in the Radyr, Pentyrch …….No doubt those boundary changes are going to be made to benefit the Tories.”

    I’m assuming that if there is anyone from the Labour party reading this it wouldn’t take them too long to identify who you are, and your comments might make interesting evidence to the Boundary Commission hearings that will decide the new constituencies.

    Your final sentence in particular suggests that there is a general expectation of gerrymandering being part of the boundary redrawing process.

    If I were you I would be a tad more careful about how you discuss such matters – we wouldn’t want evidence of politcal intent or awkward legal challenges to affect your newly formed safe seats.

1 2 3 4