YouGov has published its latest London voting intentions here. For the last few months YouGov have shown Boris and Ken effectively neck-and-neck, these latest figures have Boris opening up a lead.

On first preferences Boris is at 49%, Ken at 41%, Brian Paddick 5% and others 4%. When respondents are asked which of the leading two candidates they would prefer in a forced choice, Boris leads Ken by 54% to 46%.

The last polls were conducted when Ken was making most of the running with pledges on transport fares, and Boris’s campaign could have been kindly described as “masterful inactivity”. Since then Boris launched his own slate of pledges and Ken has faced a rather troubled month of accusations about his personal tax affairs, perhaps explaining the apparent shift towards Boris.

Looking at the other questions there have been some significant drops in perceptions of Ken Livingstone. The proportion of people who think he sticks to what he believes in has dropped to 34% (down 6 points) and the proportion who see him as in touch with ordinary people is down to 32% (down 5 points).

There has also been a shift in how the public perceive the respective records of the two main candidates. Last month 40% of people thought Ken had acheived more than Boris during his time as mayor with 31% thinking Boris had the better record. Boris has now closed that gap, with 36% thinking he has achieved more, compared to Ken’s 34%.

Ultimately though, Ken’s problem remains that he cannot convert Labour’s national support in London into support for him. In London’s Westminster voting intentions Labour have a 12 point lead over the Conservatives, CON 34%, LAB 46%, LDEM 9%. However, only 69% of those Londoners who say they’d vote Labour in a general election say they’d vote for Ken for mayor (10% would vote for Boris, 3% for Paddick, 3% for others, 4% wouldn’t vote and 11% don’t know). In comparison 86% of London Tory voters say they will vote for Boris.

There is also an Ipsos MORI London poll out today for the BBC. BBC producer guidelines essentially prevent them from ever commissioning voting intention questions, so there is a rather obvious gap on that front, but they do have some questions on perceptions of the candidates on issues and qualities. Boris has small leads on crime, the environment and (surprisingly, given other polling has shown Ken ahead) on transport. Ken has a substantial lead on Housing.

On personal qualities Boris has leads on being likeable, being an ambassador for London and getting the best deal for London from the government. Ken leads on grasp of detail, understanding ordinary Londoners and being good in a crisis. The two main candidates are neck-and-neck on making the best use of public money and being trustworthy.

UPDATE: Ipsos MORI have also released their monthly political monitor here. Topline figures are CON 36%(+1), LAB 37%(-4), LDEM 11%(-1), Others 16%(+4).

45 Responses to “YouGov show Boris ahead in London”

  1. @Anthony Wells

    Because of overtime and general life events, I don’t post here as often as I used to (although I assume that’ll change back at some point… :-) ). However, I had to post this to congratulate you for a rash of particularly good posts recently, especially the one on the budget: most helpful.

    Regards, Martyn

  2. Not surprising given the speculation about Ken`s tax returns…Ken should be smart to realise that this will rumble till the election until he publishes his tax returns…And then would die after the election because everyone knows there`s no illegality here just dog-whistling by the right-wing bloggers and media

  3. C4 news argue convincingly that the real take from the 50p band could not be known as many companies brought forward dividends and bonuses to before April 05th 2010. One expert said almost £2bn was involved.
    Leaks suggest abolition or reduction from April 2013 so no doubt divis and bonuses will be delayed and the Gov’t will say’ look the take increased from higher earners’.

    I want to see all tax rates reduce but don’t buy the 50p rate being a barrier to investment or incentive; in fact I thought investment meant less tax paid?

    What is a disincentive is the 40p band cliff edge for people with Kids.
    If you are just below and have kids and move jobs or get a pay rise or bonus you will have an effective marginal tax rate over 100%.

    For 2 kids if you go from £1 below the threshold you need over £3k to b/e and with 3 kids over £4k.

    Even if you get to say £10k above trhe threshold your marginal tax rate will be above the 50% even if with one child.
    For ourc Economy to function we need people to move jobs to spread good practice etc but why take the risk if your take effective home pay increases insufficiently.

    Even raising to £60K just creates a different cliff edge but at least you will have more earnings to reduce the effective marginal rate.

    Like GBs 10p rate it shows policy made on the hoof for political reasons can come back to bite.

  4. Not another Scottish thread!

  5. Repost from previous thread…

    High marginal tax rates for the very well paid act as a disincentive to distribute profits as income, and encourage investment. It’s very arguable that the excessive salary/bonus culture seen in big business and banking derives from the brakes being taken off. Increasing marginal taxation makes such excesses unreasonably costly.

    And this isn’t a drop in the ocean. When the bonuses in one bank are totalling more than 2bn, this represents a significant drain on the economy. Rich people don’t spend their money, they accumulate wealth (e.g property), driving up prices and causing others to have *less* money to spend.

  6. London is an interesting case of what we call in Italian “voto disgiunto”, which occurs when an electorate behaves differently in different kinds of election. As far as municipal elections are concerned, this phenomenon is observed in other European capitals too, but usually not in such an extent as to completely reverse the tendency. Madrid, Sofia, Stockholm, Helsinki, Budapest, Warsaw and Prague have right-wing administrations, in accordance to the political makeup of their electorate. On the other hand, Paris, Vienna, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Bratislava and Ljubljana are administered by center-left alliances, and their political leaning is of the same color. Sometimes a change in political color on one level prefigures a corresponding change on the other one. In 2001 the socialist-led alliance of B. Delanoe conquered Paris for the first time in ages, and then in all subsequent GE Paris votes center-left. In 2009 the conservatives were for the first time since 1981 second party in Athens in the GE, and next year they lost also the municipal election, for the first time since 1982. In 2008 there was a “voto disgiunto” in Bucharest, where a social democrat mayor was elected in a city that in the same year voted for he right, as did the rest of the country, but now for 2012 the center-left alliance will win both elections according to all VI polls. Another case of “voto disguinto” was in Rome, where the center-right alliance won in 2009 after decades of center-left rule, despite the fact than in 2008 the city voted for center-left, unlike the rest of the region of Lazio and Italy as a whole. Currently center-left is ahead on both levels.

  7. It’s the Evening Standard effect, pure and simple. The pernicious efffect the paper has it’s quite obvious – a daily drip drip of stories that praise Boris to the heavens, and slate Ken.

  8. Mind you, in the absence of a daily poll, this could be a sampling issue too…. clutching at staws maybe, but one never knows…

  9. In the IPSOS-MORI poll, Ed Milliband`s ratings getting quite close to Cameron…I know Anthony has his reservations but…

  10. On Lawson’s budget of 1988 which reduced the top rate from 60% to 40%:

    “A survey of accountants was conducted to ascertain whether Lawson’s contention that sweeping reductions in the top tax rate for individuals would result in more tax revenue being raised (because top earners would be encouraged to work longer hours) was true.

    Research results indicate that the effects of the tax cut were negligible. While most respondents did report an increase in hours worked and higher wages, the increases typically were the result of more business due to an expanding economy and not in response to the tax cut.”


    @virgilio – “Sometimes a change in political color on one level prefigures a corresponding change on the other one.”

    Both Cameron and Miliband are reported to set much store by the London outcome (in terms of media mood music/expectations). A Tory win prefigures the prospect of an majority for Cameron in 2015, while Miliband’s camp fear renewed murmurings about his leadership (even though neither can realy take credit/blame for the success/failure of Ken/Boris).

  11. I’m amazed that Ken ever wanted to run again, you get the feeling it was only vanity. The legislation on Mayoral elections should be changed allowing someone to stand for only 2 terms.

  12. I have to say does not surprise me at all. I’ve never expected Ken to win and I don’t think he will: LA a different matter.

    On another issue I am so sick of the lazy moral equivocation surrounding anti semitism these days. Resign Ashton please- you were useless at your job before this latest outrage, er, comment taken out of context.

  13. Unsurprising that increasingly bizarre remarks and behaviour from Labour’s candidate is putting off the voters.

  14. What’s this about Ashton resigning?

  15. I think it is safe to say that Labour are ahead in London VI. I’d like to see some London VI polling from other firms.

    I don’t think anybody would argue that Labour are well ahead in the North.

    For Scotland, barring a yes to independence, I think that for Westminster VI at an actual election, Labour will do better than the YG x-breaks sometimes suggest; & MORI Scotland polls are increasingly supporting that assertion.

    The most recent poll of Wales gave Labour quite an advantage too, did they not?

    Rest of the South, is pretty much Tory ground.

    So, we need some polling of the Midlands. We really do! I wonder, has Lord Ashcroft got some which he is keeping to himself?

    Because, the Midlands are surely the region we need to look to for the outcome of the next election.

    Anthony, how much would YG charge for a VI poll of the Midlands, similar to the London polling (demographically balanced etc)? If the charge is reasonable, I might just pay for one myself. ;-)

  16. Agree Amber, West Mids in particular but the NWest and London will be significant as well as there are so many seats.

  17. Not for the first time “London” seems to be misunderstood by people who have only ever lived in the provinces. It is not just an inner city with Labour votes growing amongst the mildew on the run down buildings. There are many a leafy suburb and the 2005 dump has now become frightfully fashionable and pregnant with the upwardly mobile. Unlike Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff, it is not just quite big, it is a monster. The Mayoral contest encompasses all of this and unless we are prepared to say, ” this poll is wrong”, the Tory is leaving the socialist well behind.

  18. Just to clarify, I do not mean that “London” is a nicer place overall than in say 2005, but parts that were hideous then will have improved dramatically. Parts that started to look much better in the 80’s however, might well be on their way backwards and parts that were slums are still slums.

  19. ROLY

    While I applaud your attempts to make it sound like London has embarked upon a cultural revolution leaving the dated socialists in its wake, the polling does show that still labour is ahead on the westminster VI and it’s more of a case of good old Boris convincing a few wavering labour supporters that he is actually a better man for the job than Ken.

    That isn’t to say there aren’t many enlightened pockets within London. It’s a proverbial plum pudding, although generously laden with fruit, the remainder is still stodge.

  20. @ JimJam

    I don’t think anything much will change between now & the next election, I really don’t. Any big events will be managed & spun so that each Parties’ voters can view the event through the prism of their own ‘partizanity’.

    I think that the UK is becoming more regionalized, from a political perspective; & I think that the die is on its way to being cast. If the Midlands (or areas of the Mids) are leaning towards Tory, then they will be a little more-so by the next GE; if they are inclining towards Labour then they’ll move a bit further in that direction over the next 2 or 3 years.

    So I do believe that today’s polls, when properly done for each region, will pretty much tell us already what will be the outcome of the next GE.

  21. Ken ain’t done yet.

  22. @ALAN
    I am aware that the Westminster VI currently suggests that Labour are in front. My point is, do the constituency’s concerned in this calculation, actually spread out as far as the boundaries Kenneth and Boris scrap over ? If they do, then Labour have dropped a serious clanger with Ken. If they don’t, the Westminster figure means sweet Fanny Adams.


    Ashton pleads “distortion”.

    Agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

  24. @JimJam (FPT)

    “Just watched first half of Daliy Politics and Andrew Neil asked the Labour guest why the latest poll shows the cons 3% ahead….
    Don’t blame Neil who, despite his background is quite balanced imo, but the researchers should do better than that.”

    Utterly predictable. In fact, it was, here, exactly 24 hours ago.

    “And a poll which will no doubt be bound to be mentioned on tomorrow’s broadcast news, in contrast to all of the other polls surfacing here over the past two weeks which pointed consistently in the other direction.”

  25. Roly

    I believe the two electorates are identical.

  26. Oh well, at least that 8/11 bet on Paddick achieving 10% or less looks secure. Even the current odds of 3/10 look attractive.

  27. Interesting that YouGov weight their London poll by ethnicity. Non-white ethnicity is indeed a very strong predictor of voting intention. Given that, I’m puzzled as to why national YouGov polling isn’t subject to similar treatment.

  28. @Amber Star – “… the die is on its way to being cast.”

    I tend to believe that elections are decided by a “certain to vote” cohort who don’t have any clear political affiliation, the classic floater… many of them are probably in the don’t know column atm.

    We can speculate, or focus group, on what will decide these mondeo-man/soccer-mom figments of the marketing imagination, but a lot of people base their decisions on the sum of subtle and not-so-subtle signals they are picking up – many of them transmitted to them by the media.

    What worries me is that Labour politicians are still out of fashion with the media types, scornfully so at present (political commentators assure us that the Tories are always ahead in the polls). That needs to change before the general election hullabaloo gets going, otherwise unaligned voters will get to hear only one side of the spin.

  29. I find it interesting that so many people struggle with the idea that people would vote for different parties depending on the level of government.

    Perhaps there are actually those who think Boris has done a good job for London but think that the coalition are terrible for the UK?

    Much like the SNP/Labour split in Scotland – one party for Westminster and one for Scotland.

  30. It’s all over for Ken. It’s just a matter of the margin of victory for Boris.

    His record in office drawfs Boris’s considerably. But as @Mike Hartley above says, the Evening Standard obstacle is insurmountable.
    When Ken won in 2000 (as an independent) the ES were on his side. When he won on 2004 (as a reintergrated member of the Labour Party) the ES were at least not hostile to him as there was no viable opposition.

    The ES savaged Ken in 2008 with a series of incessant smears in the run up to the election, prior to which Ken was comfortably ahead and over 50% thought he had done a good job. But this time the ES has really surpassed itself. Not content with regular negative Ken stories on the front page, it has became a open publicity pamphlet for Boris’s re-election campaign.

    You would have to go a long, long way to find a UK newpaper that even comes close to supporting one side and trashing the other – daily – as the ES does. It’s really quite mindboggling. And it makes you wonder…if Ken was such a threat to society why the need for all of this hostility? The public would know and go for the other guy.

    In fact there are several reasons why Ken cannot win, but the ES factor is the single one that makes it impossible. It is even arguable whether an election can be considered fair where the only city-wide paper – which is a free sheet – acts in this way. Other factors include LD second preferences (which don’t seem here to be having much affect but will almost certainly do overall. And the heavier turnout in the suburbs.

    Exactly what I’ve been saying for ages – with North/South political divide deepening, the Midlands will be ‘wot wins it’.

    Also exactly why ‘Labour need to focus on policies to win over the South-East!’ is exactly the wrong answer for Labour.

  32. RAF
    `It’s all over for Ken. It’s just a matter of the margin of victory for Boris.`

    Ken din`t help himself…When the media are after you,you don`t give them something to work with…He should have published his tax returns.

  33. @tingedfringe” – “Labour need to focus on policies to win over the South-East is exactly the wrong answer for Labour.”


    “Southern England provided 49% of Labour’s total gain of seats in the 1997 election and its 31 gains in the south east alone was the party’s biggest regional tally by far.

    Such was the scale of Labour’s advance that there are now more Labour MPs in London than in Scotland and more in the south east region than in Wales.”


  34. Interesting to note that with the IPSOS-MORI poll,as with ICM,Labour lead reduces from 3 to 1(C-35,L-38) when certainty to vote is taken into account.

    Also the poll shows 5 points for Greens and UKIP at 4,so that`s pretty high indeed for Greens and not altogether bad news for Labour as Green supporters are unlikely to vote for this`greenest government ever`

    Cameron`s net satisfaction amongst Conservative supporters is +67 yet overall scores at -11
    Milliband`s net satisfaction amongst Labour supporters is +1,yet overall score is -18…So Milliband may not be doing all that bad amongst coalition supporters and Cameron particularly badly amongst Labour supporters.

  35. @ Billy Bob

    I agree with what you are saying, to a certain extent but I believe that work colleagues, friends, family & local media may have more influence than the major media outlets. And it is still debatable whether, over-all, the formal media follow the zeitgeist or create it.

    I think the coming GE will be different from others, in that there are already clear differences showing in several regions; & the government’s policies do appear to be exacerbating these differences. I don’t think it will be about Mondeo man or Ashcroft marginals or anything as ‘dainty’ as that.

    Let’s hypothesise: e.g. Selling shares & houses to UK citizens, aka popular capitalism, was indeed popular, especially in the Midlands; corporatism & selling off the UK’s infrastructure to overseas investors… perhaps not so much? And if people do/ don’t like it now, will they like it any more/less in the future?

    That’s why I think the seeds are already sown regarding the way in which the Midlands will vote. ‘Don’t knows’ will follow the local/ regional trend & it is these DK followers – not Modeo man or targeted marginal voters – who will determine the outcome of the next GE. So, I’d like to know now, which way are the majority of the Midlands really leaning because I think that will be the decider of the next GE.

  36. @Billy Bob, @Tinged Fringe, @Amber Star

    Look at the last election, and Labour lost 19 out of 157 total seats (for all parties) in London and the South East, 25 out of 105 in the E and W Midlands, and 22 out of 128 in Yorks/Humber and the NW.

    London and the South East is the least volatile of those three groupings, and the Midlands the most volatile, in absolute numbers and even more by proportion of seats.

  37. @ Billy Bob

    There is no doubt in my mind (nor Tinged’s I would guess) that Labour need London. It is on the back of a second YG poll which gives Labour a clear lead in London that we feel able to speculate about the SE being a hard target that must play 2nd fiddle to a softer target: Which is the Midlands.

    IMO, There aren’t going to be policies available to Labour which play well in both the SE & the Midlands at the same time, so we are going to have to choose.

    Without London already being on-side, that choice wouldn’t be available. But it is – & IMO, Labour have to get some Midland’s polling, consider it, take a decision & make it work.

  38. @ Phil

    The simplicity of the elctoral math, which you neatly present in a single sentence, is very welcome. Thanks.

  39. @ Phil,

    I meant the simple clarity of the electoral math – I composited 2 words into one; apols.

  40. @Amber Star



    Math? As in Scotch instead of Scots?

    (Sorry, can’t do smileys)

  41. @ Phil

    I mostly work with Americans. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain 2 mental dictionaries. When I start writing about the Labor Party, I’ll know I’m really losing the plot. :-)

  42. Re London political makeup, it is interesting (and somewhat intriguing) to note that European capitals fall in three categories: A. Those who lean more to the left than the country as a whole, B. Those who lean more to the right, and C. Those who usually display similar results to the national tendency. Category A comprises Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Copenhagen (the 4 most extreme cases), Brussels, Budapest, Paris (a recent, post-2001 swing from category B), Ljubljana, Zagreb, Dublin, Riga and Tallin. Category B includes Madrid, Sofia, Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague, Bratislava, Nicosia and Vilnius. Category C includes Athens (a recent swing from category B), Bucharest, Lisbon, Warsaw and Rome. (I do not refer to municipal elections, which may differ for various reasons, including mayor’s popularity, but to the results of GE). London, according to this polls, seems to fall between categories A and C. What intrigues me is why, for example, Copenhagen is so much more left-leaning than Stockholm or Helsinki? Why Zagreb is so progressive and Sofia so conservative? Why the right score ridiculous percentages in Amsterdam, Vienna and Berlin and instead has almost never lost Madrid? OK, enough questions for tonight, it is rather a mind game to which I seek refuge, I am still (as almost all French are) profoundly shocked by what happened yesterday in Toulouse…

  43. @Amber Star – “… the SE being a hard target that must play 2nd fiddle to a softer target: Which is the Midlands.”

    Many, many seats in the SE it would be pointless for Labour to target – but the demographics of the *winnable* seats there wouldn’t be so very different to those in the Midlands.

    One thing that did occur to me – it’s a generalisation, but in terms of a London effect on the media narrative – the 80s recessions hit the Midlands and the North hardest. In the 90s and late 00s effects were also felt in the London/the South.

  44. I don’t need to point out… influential London media people ‘live’ in the home counties, they have a flat in the capital.

  45. @PHIL

    Don’t forget the SNP equation. It’s difficult to work out if they will get no extra seats, a few extra, or lots. Certianly they ought to get a few Lib Dem ones, but the Labour vote up here seems to be holding up.


    I wonder how Ken’s ‘Beacon of Islam’ speech will affect his popularity. If it goes well, we (the non-Londoners) can ascertain that London wants such a thing. I can’t see it though.