The weekly YouGov London poll for the Evening Standard shows the race for the London mayor elections now neck-and-neck, with Boris’s lead on the second round down to 2 points. First round voting intention figures, with changes from last week, are JOHNSON 43%(-2), LIVINGSTONE 41%(+1), PADDICK 8%(+1), WEBB 3%(nc), BENITA 3%(+1), JONES 2%(nc), CORTIGLIA (1%). Once second round preferences are re-allocated the figures are JOHNSON 51%, LIVINGSTONE 49%.

The changes are within the margin of error, so I’ll add my normal caveat about not reading too much into it. That said, if the narrowing is genuine, why might it be? Looking at the rest of the trackers, Ken really hasn’t made much progress since last week. The percentage of people thinking he did a good job as Mayor is down, the percentage thinking he did a better job than Boris is down, he is down across the board on the question about each candidates’s qualities. Most of the changes are not significant in themselves, but the increase in voting support isn’t mirrored by an increase in his other figures. My guess, therefore, is that the narrowing of the polls is Ken gaining from the rising national tide of Labour support and the coalition government’s troubles, rather than any improvement in the public’s perception of him personally.

On other questions in previous polls we saw that people were pretty divided over whether Ken would actually deliver on his pledge to reduce bus fares by 7%. This week YouGov asked the same question about Boris’s pledge to reduce council tax, and found similar levels of belief and disbelief – 39% think Boris probably would keep the pledge, 38% think he wouldn’t.

YouGov also asked whether people think Boris and Ken were the right candidates for their parties. Amongst Conservative votes 86% thought Boris was the right choice for the party, with 4% disagreeing. Amongst Labour voters 60% thought that Ken was the right choice, with 25% thinking he was not.

Finally to wrap up the tax story, YouGov asked if people thought the three main candidates had or had not paid as much tax as they should. 27% thought Boris had paid enough tax, 24% thought he hadn’t, 49% didn’t know. For Ken 18% thought he had paid enough tax, 39% thought he hadn’t, 43% didn’t know.

Firstly, note how high the don’t knows are – the row over tax was the biggest issue in the mayoral election for a couple of weeks, and yet over 40% of people don’t really know whether or not the candidates did pay the right amount of tax. Secondly, while Ken scores worse than Boris (the proportion of people thinking he didn’t pay his taxes is 15 points higher than Boris), Boris is not perceived as particularly clean either. Thirdly, even amongst people voting for Ken 27% of them think he hasn’t paid as much tax as he should… yet it’s clearly not something they care about enough to stop them voting for him.

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119 Responses to “YouGov have Boris’s lead down to 2 points”

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  1. @NickP

    “I don’t believe when Cameron said to Dorries, “I know you’re frustrated” that he was trying to be funny or make some sexual aspersion. I think he was sympathising for her Bill being blown out of the water.”

    Whether or not DC himself meant it that way, it was very clear that many Tory MPs instantly had that thought – and DC showed no puzzlement at all at the reaction, suggesting he understood very well how his remarks were being taken. At the very least it suggested very strong underlying mysogyny in a substantial section of the Tory Party.

  2. @Colin

    There are many politicians over which one may [censored] and I am sure that those on here would consider a wide range of types, both male and female. But lord above – Teresa Gorman? Dude! Awesome! Ok, weird as well, but still awesome… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  3. My guess is that Nadine Dorries, because of her position, would be able to engage in a little politicing on behalf of others … people who couldn’t possibly comment openly.


    I lived in Edgbaston then.

    A very long serving Conservative MP ( Jill Knight) had stood down-so I suppose the personal identification had gone .
    I voted for Gisela Stuart. She was a very good MP-and still is -one of my favourite Labour MPs in fact..

    After that I lived in firm Cornish LibDem territory, and currently reside in a safe Conservative seat ( with an MP I’m not very keen on !)

  5. Interesting poll!
    I suspect Disco Dave will be very worreid about the prospect of Boris on the loose.
    There is very little love for him in the tory party and if you look at things like the comments pages in the spectator, there are a lot of activists saying he should go – and nobody seeming to defend him.
    I dont think they are close to an actual rebellion and thats partly becasue there is no credible alternative. Boris (like Cameron himself) is one of the few leading tories who people accept as a memeber of the human race and he could become a ligthing rod for the growing dissent within tory ranks.

    In fact its interesting that there is far more visible discontent within the tory party then within the lib dems – who have plenty more reasons for being unhappy with their leader.

  6. I should imagine- if this is an actual drop rather than variation- that BJ is getting brand contamination from the HoC Tories who had another bad week with May-Qatada etc

    As AW states- nothing KL has done in last week to garner support!

  7. The London election will come down to who gets the blame for the imminent tube strike. Boris, as the incumbent who failed to negotiate an agreement, or Red Ken.

    This, I think, will be the decider. And nothing in the YG poll to help us guage the potential impact. Evening Standard :razz: Why didn’t they ask about that?

  8. Can I apologise to Max for some tetchy comments I made last night on the French election thread. I have just returned from holiday in the US and had the joy of coming through UK customs/immigration at LHR whilst also suffering some jet lag

    No need for me to so narky with someone on this polite (normally) forum

  9. Bazsc, it’s fine :)

  10. Hi Max

    Thanks – I can back to disagreeing with you again in a polite and constructive way not like a miserable old sod!

  11. @ BazSc

    Brodie Clark commenting in the Graun about it. Cuts to staff combined with full-check regime means it will get worse before it gets better. I loathe HR airport & go to great lengths to avoid it.

  12. @ Virgilio (from the last thread)

    “And here are the results of the 3d district (arrondissement) of Paris, where I vote when I am in France:
    Hollande 40.1
    Sarkozy 28.5
    Mélenchon 10.2
    Bayrou 9.8
    Joly 5.6
    LePen 4.2
    Dupont 0.7
    Poutou 0.5
    Arthaud 0.2
    So 56.6 for the Left, 33.4 for the Right and 9.8 for the Center. It is the oldest part of the historical center of Paris (Le Marais), and more than ever a stronghold of the socialists and the left, with also a Green presence stronger than the average.”

    I thought that the Marais was in the 4th.

    I’m glad you won your home arrendisement in the 3rd. That’s always a good feeling…to know that your neighbors voted for your guy. For me, that’s most elections. Although I remember a mayoral election where in my precinct, my favored mayoral candidate received 16% of the vote to his opponent’s 83%.

    The arrendisement that’s interesting to me politically is the 6th. Sarkozy won there by a double digit margin over Hollande. It’s interesting because that area used to be this sort of Bohemian, artsy, academic (I think the Latin Quarter is there), perhaps working class at one point. But as a result, it became sort of the trendy area in Paris and all the wealthy wanted to live there and it completely gentrified. Kinda like Soho in NYC. I don’t know when that process started in the 6th but it’s been going on a long while. Now all the high end boutiques that you find on the right bank in the 1st and the 8th have store branches in the 6th. So Sarkozy’s 44% there might be a poor showing for him but perhaps much stronger than other right wing candidates in the past.

    It’s one of those fascinating things about European politics generally (you see it in British politics too) and what’s so counterintuitive for me. Gentrification will alter the political landscape of a neighborhood dramatically. I’m hardpressed to think of any urban neighborhoods in the U.S. that have seen political changes with massive gentrification (to the extent that there is any, it seems to push politics slightly leftward).

    “Cannes was always a right-wing stronghold in France’s political geography, so no surprise there.”

    Makes sense. That whole area in the south seems to be a right wing stronghold.

  13. Coming back to some of the comments on the first page regarding the comments about Osborne and Cameron being posh boys

    For once I have to agree with Nadine Dorries and it shows some of the weakness we have at the top of politics now.

    In the past there was a gravitas about all the political leaders. I grew up in the 80s but if you look at the politicians we had (Foot. Healey, Thatcher, Howe, Heseltine, Steel, Ashdown, even Kinnock etc) there was a certain respect linked to their background – many from the war or from humbler backgrounds who have to fight prejudice. You would find it difficult challenging Margaret Thatcher on her route to the role of PM even if you disliked her policies

    Now we see almost an X-factor situation where people are promoted to the top of politics far too quickly without the need to prove themselves in ministry or elsewhere in order to hone their character to the knocks of politics.

    I think this is the worst case I have seen with all three leaders being young and having no experience of life outside a protected bubble. I think all the leaders of the parties lack this credibility but Cameron and Osborne have a real sense of arrogance and entitlement that will catch them out at some point – linked also, to my view, with a lack of competence. This is a poisonous combiNATION

  14. As is my wont, I have just dipped into UKPR briefly and, having read the Teresa Gorman references and Colin and Martyn’s confessions, I don’t quite know whether to laugh or cry. Probably the most surreal and vaguely disturbing thread I have ever encountered on these august pages.

    That Onan had a lot to answer for, did he not?? lol

    This almost rivals Lord Gowrie’s (he of the odd massage parlour visit) confession that whenever he saw Edwina Currie he experienced a “batsqueak of desire”.

    Some bat, some squeak as old Winnie might have said!! lol

  15. @ Amber Star

    “The London election will come down to who gets the blame for the imminent tube strike. Boris, as the incumbent who failed to negotiate an agreement, or Red Ken.”

    There’s an impending tube strike? That could be trouble. Of course, I was once in London during a tube strike and despite the predictions of a nightmarish hell this would cause, the traffic actually seemed to move and people on the streets seemed extraordinarily cooperative with each other. Your people have this sort of stiff upper lip attitude to things like that. So it might not hurt Johnson (though it could in a close election…all you need is a few disgruntled folks who would not have voted or voted for the incumbent to move towards the challenger).

    Can the transit workers unions be fined for striking? I know that when there have been some MTA strikes in New York City, the transit workers union there got slapped with fines of a million dollars a day. It seemed to end the strike fairly quickly.

    Transit strikes are unfortunate because they harm the poor the most. The poor are the most likely to not have cars and not have friends who have cars and can drive them if need be. And I would imagine too that those poor tend to live farther away from their places of employment and so walking or biking to work isn’t neccessarily an easy option.

  16. Max, I predict that a red background will be visiting your profile very soon.

    I have made comments about Cameron before on this forum and AW has moderated. I have been saying what Nadine Dorries has said, since Cameron become Tory party leader.

    I have always sensed that Cameron is in the job for his ego, rather than the wish to serve the country. This is sometimes what you get, when you have people that have wanted to become PM, since they will children. Apart from a brief spell with Carlton, Cameron has been a career politician, by working in Tory central office and as a SPAD, before he became an MP.

    It is a real shame that we don’t have a minimum age for MP’s of say 40, with them having to have had atleast 10 years experience of working in business or public service, that might inform their works as MP’s. As this is unlikely to be something that can be legislated for, it should be up to the parties to make sure candidates are of the right quality.

  17. Bazsc – my family and I retuned from New York 2 weeks ago in to T5 on route to Newcastle.
    At JFK we had the usual security, hand luggage scanned etc whjich is fair enough and thereafter were only in the JFK departure Lounge, on the plane and in T5 corridors.

    We still had to queue up to have our hand luggage checked again etc but what could we get in the JFK departure lounge or on the plane to make bombs is beyond me!
    Funny part (looking back not at the time) was my son picked up an extra small can of coke on the plane and put in my hand luggage. I was stopped as I had liquids, liquids given out on airplanes, crazy.

    My view is that we are wasting resources on unnecessary security that could be better used on surveillance checking passengers from airports with security we would consider lax etc.

    Not a political point as bad under Labour.

    Also same in US if your are a transfer passenger, and in fact in Atlanta (the worst Airport i have ever been through) we had our hand luggage checked before being able to board an internal train shuttle to reach the arrivals halls from where the plane landed Moreover, we had to collect checked luggage and then put on through the internal transfer process with full security even though we were at our final destination.
    Reckon it was part of why Atlanata was the ‘worst Olympics ever’ and if Heathrow is as bad the London games may suffer.

  18. I agree with the comments about our hopelessly young, inexperienced and incompetent senior politicians.

    As Labour moved towards an older crustier leader (Brown had plenty of political baggage but I always felt he was sincere and “worthy” despite what I thought about his policies), the Lib Dems and Conservatives lurched hypocritically towards their own Blair-light candidates who epitomised the “all spin no delivery” criticism that they had directed at Blair.

    I get the impression that too many of them are driven not by principles or conviction, but by a simple desire to win some sort of game.

    Unfortunately however, we get what we deserve and what we vote for.

  19. @ SoCaL

    I should’ve been clearer, it’s not a full-on drivers’ strike.
    It’s a maintenance workers strike, which could affect 3 lines for 3 days. If it was a big strike, I think Ken would not get the chance to recover the situation.

  20. It’s felt like such a long campaign that people are getting thoroughly fed up of both candidates (and that’s just those of us who live in London. Imagine the poor folk who live elsewhere, especially those with little interest in the thing).

    It therefore becomes a question of who will be the last man standing. Livingstone has steadily reduced the gap through falling Boris popularity. I said previously that after all the mud thrown at Ken, it was unlikely his level of support would fall. Boris’s support is however dipping. The question, as once asked by those sages of psephology, Public Enemy, is how low can he go?

    Where I live there is a much lower level of enthusiasm for Boris than there was in 2008. Given this is where Boris won 2-1 with a 51% turnout, it’s where the election was won. I strongly doubt the turnout figures this year will be anywhere near as high. But differential turnout could well be decisive (does YouGov weight for this?)

  21. @ RAF

    YG do weight for turnout on a 10 = 1.0, 9 = 0.9

  22. @ RAF

    Should’ve said etc. in case you think YG stop at 9.

  23. @R Huckle

    “Max, I predict that a red background will be visiting your profile very soon.”

    Why, has Anthony added a Republican skin to the site? :P

  24. We received our London voters information pack today, what a bunch. Never-mind, I, and some fellow Blues supporters, fly out from City Airport, London’s best, to Barcelona tomorrow morning, nothing short of a Blues win will do for us, are you listening Boris ? :-)
    I am predicting a double Blue victory of course. :-)

  25. @Ken

    I got the pack too. BNP page looked more like a tourist add, what with the I <3 London as their logo.

    I'm voting by post anyone know when it will arive, I'm leaving to go back to Uni on Saturday :( The letter from the council said they would start sending out ballots on the 19th, any ideas when this will arrive then?

  26. R Huckle

    “I have always sensed that Cameron is in the job for his ego, rather than the wish to serve the country.”

    In your humble opinion?

    Can’t you save overtly partisan comments for other sites?

    I happen to believe that Cameron really desires to serve his country and passionately wants to save/improve the NHS, which you also may disagree with I suspect, but what you or I think isn’t really the point.

  27. When does the ICM/Guardian poll come out?


    When does the ICM/Guardian poll come out?

    I think the closet doors have been long open at the Guardian…..

  29. I suppose the point is (about Cameron) that it doesn’t matter whether we agree with Nadine or not…will the out of touch posh boys thing resonate with the public?

    Looking at this London poll I suspect that Labour’s lead will widen tonight.

  30. @NICKP
    `will the out of touch posh boys thing resonate with the public?`

    I think it will resonate…Already the Survation poll showed 70% saying the government is out of touch and 60% saying it is a government of chums.

    We got Daddy of them all at Leveson this week and it should be interesting

  31. Guardian reporting massive Tory poll slump in ICM

  32. @Crossbat11

    I need to point out rather hurriedly that I have not confessed to anything (even by omission) and “one may” is not a synonym for “I have”.

    Regards, Martyn

  33. @ BT Says……

    Not partisan really. It is an opinion that might resonate with other voters and be reflected in polling.

    When people give a view about any senior politician, it is generally a gut feeling that they have, rather than something that they can evidence with examples of behaviour.

    When Nadine Dorries refers to Cameron and Osborne as ignorant toffs, it then become a debating point, as to whether this is a widely shared opinion and could therefore be reflected in polling.

    A number of times on this forum, we have had debates regarding Ed Miliband, following particular polling, after media stories.

    Also, we regularly see comments about Nick Clegg, which could be viewed as partisan.

    The point is whether the comments being made relate to something being discussed in current affairs and could therefore be translated into polling.

    If this site was purely about statistics and methodology of polling, it would be a pretty boring site and I suspect that half of the contributors would not bother.

  34. WOODSMAN……….Back,woodsman, back ! :-)

  35. R HUCKLE

    @”Max, I predict that a red background will be visiting your profile very soon.”

    THe sooner the better-maybe he is just colour blind though :-)

  36. interesting on UKIP score

    “But ICM puts it on just 3%”

    Why is it that all the other polls put Ukip on around 7-9 but ICM has them down in 3, is it to do with methodology?

  37. @Colin

    “@”Max, I predict that a red background will be visiting your profile very soon.”
    THe sooner the better-maybe he is just colour blind though”

    I thought you were Blue too? Why are you hoping I go red? Unless you got the joke I made about a new Republican skin :)

  38. Conservatives turn three-point opinion poll lead into eight-point deficit

    Latest Guardian/ICM poll sees the Tories slumping to 33%, after registering 39% last month, with Labour rising from 36% to 41%

    We knew the slump was happening and Tories were going to UKIP but that looks like Lab gaining direct from Con to me.

  39. @NICKP

    Why the big difference in UKIP scores between ICM and the rest showing UKIP on 7-9 is it to do with methodology?

  40. BT

    @”I happen to believe that Cameron really desires to serve his country and passionately wants to save/improve the NHS, which you also may disagree with I suspect, but what you or I think isn’t really the point.”

    Same here.

    We will be back to discussing whether “garage”, “kitchen” & “supper” are upper class words soon.

  41. @COLIN
    `I happen to believe that Cameron really desires to serve his country and passionately wants to save/improve the NHS, which you also may disagree with I suspect, but what you or I think isn’t really the point`

    I am sure appointing Andy Coulson helped him to not only achieve what you have mentioned but also increase the overall integrity levels in the country

  42. @Nick P

    An 8 pt lead for Labour over the Tories on ICM (since Blair) must be one of signs of the end of the Westminster world :)

    Well, I suppose it is 2012 after all…

  43. max

    it’s a 2% rise for UKIP. That’s pretty big…not as big as the Con slump though!

  44. MAX

    @”I thought you were Blue too?”

    I’m a Conservative supporter.

  45. Interesting ICM poll, but surely the Lib dem result cannot
    be correct?
    Nick P, sometimes it is not what you say but how you say it.The Tory guffaws that greeted this crass comment said
    it all.As you sow,so you shall reap.Now she has had her


    @”I am sure appointing Andy Coulson helped him to not only achieve what you have mentioned but also increase the overall integrity levels in the country”

    Are you?

  47. All polls now in alignment.

    A perfect storm.

    (Ken – get out while you still can ;-) )

  48. @ Colin

    “We will be back to discussing whether “garage”, “kitchen” & “supper” are upper class words soon.”

    I have never been bothered by Camerons wealthy background. Nadine Dorries obviously is bothered, otherwise she would not have made the comments. She knows Cameron and Osborne much better than I do, so I can only go on opinions expressed by others who are better informed.

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