The Evening Standard has published the penultimate YouGov poll for this year’s London mayoral election. Topline figures for the first round (with changes from last week) are JOHNSON 44%(+1), LIVINGSTONE 41%(nc), PADDICK 6%(-2), WEBB 3%(nc), BENITA 3%(nc), JONES 3%(+1), CORTIGLIA 1%(nc). With second preferences reallocated the final figures are JOHNSON 52%(+1), LIVINGSTONE 48%(-1). Full tabs are here.

In the London Assembly the shares are CON 32%, LAB 45%, LD 8%, Others 15% in the constituency vote and CON 30%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8%, GREEN 5%, BNP 2% in the list vote. On a uniform swing this would translate into 12 seats for Labour, 8 for the Conservatives, Lib Dem 2, UKIP 2, Green 1.

The rest of the poll had banks of questions asking which candidate people thought best understood the concerns of various demographic groups and which they trusted on various issues.

On the demographics, Boris is seen as better understanding homeowners and the middle classes, Ken commuters, poorer Londonders, older people and ethnic minorities. On understanding “people like you” Ken has a narrow lead, 26% to 23%. On the issues, Ken has a lead on transport, cost of living and uniting London’s communities. Boris leads on the economy and crime, with the two candidates neck-and-neck on creating jobs.

There were also some questions on “driverless” tube trains. People support their introduction by 44% to 36%. Asked if they’ll make the tube safer, more expensive, or lead to more strikes, on balance people think they will make the tube cheaper and reduce strikes… but by 41% to 8% think it will make the tube less safe.

97 Responses to “YouGov show Boris 4 points ahead”

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  1. That’s close – it’s beginning to look more and more that the spin after the elections will be “Boris clings on to London” than any triumphant fanfare from the Conservatives.

    Looks like it’s going to be a bleak/brilliant (delete as appropriate) night!

    Am I right in saying that if these results were correct on the actual day, BJ wouldn’t have enough votes to pass his budget? Obviously deals will be made with other parties, but BJ is going to have a tough time of it…

  2. On a uniform swing this would translate into 12 seats for Labour, 8 for the Conservatives, Lib Dem 2, UKIP 2, Green 1.
    Greens with the ‘power’ vote then; or do I not understand how the LA works these days?

  3. @ScotsWaeHae
    He needs 9 votes to pass his budget. On those figures, he just needs the backing of UKIP.

  4. That’s assuming he gets a budget to pass…might be Ken.

  5. It’ll be interesting for UKIP to have a say in the running of the 6th biggest French city :-)

  6. Game over.

  7. Anthony, you deliberately posted this article during my lunch break in the hope I would offer your readers the benefit of my expertise, didn’t you?

    Interesting tables. In the general voting intention question, I see that most Tory defectors from 2010 have gone over to the Greens rather than Labour or UKIP. White voters are evenly split between Tory and Labour, whereas among “non-white” voters (don’t really like that term) Labour leads by a 4:1 margin.

    However, in the mayoral election white voters favour Boris by better than 5:3 (an not far short of 2:1) with non-whites favouring Ken by less than 3:1.

    It’s clear from this that Boris’s popularity (or Ken’s lack of popularity) is, relatively speaking, apparent across both ethnic categories. This certainly accords with the people I know here in Southall, some of whom are voting for Boris just because they think he’s funny.

    It also illustates that the ethnic minority vote is not, as some might think, a monolithic block – Tories can improve in this area if they would just bury some of their racist instincts. Boris has made some mistakes in this field (e.g. “watermelon smiles”) but these types of comment seem to have been largely forgotten and his more recent policy of an amnesty for illegal immigrants remembered.

    One other observation which is perhaps not surprising: Ken leads among the under-40s, Boris is ahead among the over-40s (though this partly reflect the fact that the minority ethnic component of the electorate has a younger age profile than the white electorate).

  8. Is it all over?I don`t think so…Commuters don`t seem that bothered about Ken`s Fares pledge this morning…One said`Ken`s going to win` another `No chance`…It might be close

  9. @ Sergio

    Game over ? not at all, After reading all the labour supporters posts on here it seems Ken has Boris right where he wants him.

    I mean since when has a 6-8 point lead mattered.

  10. Actual Result in May 2008:

    Boris 42%, Ken 36%, Paddick 10% (3% Grn, 1% Ukip, 3% BNP)

    You Gov (ultimate) 1st May 2008:
    43%, 36%,13%, 2%,1%, 2%.

    You Gov (penultimate) 28th April 2008:
    46%, 35%, 12%, 2%, 1%, 2%.

    So, forgetting about moe for a moment, the penultimate YouGov in 2008 slightly overstated the support for Boris… or there just might have been a late small swing away.

  11. Smukesh,

    You’re welcome to draw on the anecdotal evidence of two commuters if wish to delude yourself that every single recent poll is wrong.

  12. Bluebob, LOL. I really don’t know how many times Anthony Wells has to repeat himself. It’s a polling website, put here as a forum for discussing polls as opposed to a forum for labour supporters to air their fantasies.

  13. I know Sergio, but it seems a few are getting ready for goverment, maybe by june even :)

  14. Scottish elections
    SNP going on “Yougov coss-break has SNP ahead”!! (web-site this morning)

  15. It’s interesting that on May 1st 2010 the polls and pundits were predicting a Tory majority. — That didn’t happen.
    Allowing for late movement and MOE I suspect it’s actually too close to call and all is still to play for between Ken and Boris. We’ll know for sure soon enough.

  16. The question about “Driverless” tube trains is a bit silly of course, since there are already “Driverless” trains in the network. On the DLR. But anyone who’s been on it knows that they’ve still go someone sitting in the front, at the controls, driving the thing. “Driverless” is a technical term for the distinction between the level of train controls being used. So introduction of “Driverless” trains in the tube is just a change of equipment, different signalling, and a slightly easier job of driving. But that’s only a tiny part of the job, with most of it being looking after a train full of passengers. So “Driverless” trains won’t make the slightest bit of observable change to passengers, and certainly not a reduction in skilled staff.

    Of course, I suspect that this won’t become common public knowledge till some time after the mayoral election…

  17. Fencesitter- “It’s interesting that on May 1st 2010 the polls and pundits were predicting a Tory majority.”

    It might be interesting if it were true, but it isn’t. The polls were predicting a hung Parliament.

  18. I accept the polls have Boris ahead. But the voting intention is swinging Lab’s way. Only the “Boris factor” keeps him ahead and we have yet to see if it holds when people are stopping backing the Tories.

  19. Actually, what’s been striking about the London polling has been its stability over the past 6 weeks. On Round 2, the result has hovered consistently around 53/47% to Boris, give or take a point or two.

  20. Anthony,

    Thanks for the archive link which demonstrates that most polling companies got it more or less right in 2010, with the obvious exception of Angus Reid. There’s no reason to suspect 2012 will be markedly different and therefore it looks like a Ken victory would be a major upset.

    What most posters did in 2010 was to underestimate the seats Lab would win with 29%, and over-estimate those the LDs would win. However, that won’t of course be an issue in Boris v Ken.

  21. Correction – in 2010 the LD vote (23%) was in fact significantly over-estimated by all polling companies which I’m guessing accounts for their lower number of seats and slightly higher for both Con and Lab than most were expecting.

  22. Nick – from the last YG BJ is actually slightly better off but I guess the key point of this poll is that it is not large enough for some soft KL potential voters to think there is no point bothering and not vote.
    Similarly Boris voters know they need to vote just in case so turnout could be up.

    FWIW, if they ever have a referundum where I live asking if we want an Elected mayor it’s a big no from me.

  23. @ Sergio
    ” I really don’t know how many times Anthony Wells has to repeat himself. It’s a polling website, put here as a forum for discussing polls as opposed to a forum for labour supporters to air their fantasies.”

    1. Agree that some Lab supporters are getting bizzarely carried away by current mid-term polls. But Con ones are just as injudicious when things swing their way; there is surely nothing more partisan than asserting that only one’s opponents are partisan!
    2. AW wants a “pure” discussion of polling: but then most of us think the world would be a better place if only other people were more like ourselves.
    3. AW’s point is that (a) partisanship puts people off the site & (b) will in the end reduce it to the pitiful condition of other forums. He may be right. My prejudice would be that “pure” polling discussions would attract fewer posters & lurkers & hence less advertising.
    4. I would like to see data of the site’s users, revenues, advertisers etc. Heck I’m in favour of “openness” & “transparency”.

  24. AW,

    I stand corrected. That will teach me not to believe everything I read and remember.
    This from Toby Young ( Telegraph ) at the time :-

    “In light of tonight’s polls, the betting markets now have an overall Conservative majority as odds on favourite, a switch from a hung Parliament earlier today. Mike Smithson has blogged about this on I expect the odds to shorten even more on the Tories winning an overall majority as polling day approaches so now would be a good time to pile in.”

  25. Hi all,

    I’m looking for a little bit of help and wonder if some of you, psephologically minded contributors, could be of assistance.

    I’ve put together a seat predictor/projector and have noticed an anomaly in the voteshare/seats.

    I have used a basic factor of change calculation (5% down to 4% would be a factor of 0.8 and 4% up to 5% would be 1.25) and so when this is put across all seats it is clear that the new totals don’t add up to 100. So…

    I have taken each new total voteshare and divided these by the total projected voteshares per constituency to find the true voteshare projection and ensure they total 100%.

    What I’ve noticed, however, is that if I put in 33% Con and 42% Lab (based on polling) I end up with 34% Con and 41% Lab.

    Is this because of the way I have levelled the voteshares out to 100% per constituency and that some constituencies have larger turnouts? (particularly the Tory held, rural seats)

    Or is it something else?

    Sorry if this isn’t appropriate for this thread/site.


    “Tories can improve in this area if they would just bury some of their racist instincts.”

    Is that necessary?

  27. Gerrard, the first thing to look at is if this is due to a rounding issue.

  28. We’ll find out on Friday (when do we normally get the Mayoral result?).

    People seem cross that I think Ken will nick it. I could be wrong. But me thinking it won’t affect the result, will it?

    Nothing to get cross about.

  29. Well, based on those numbers someone with better maths than me could calculate the probability of Ken winning.

    Essentially the chance of the probability distribution from Ken’s polling number being higher than the probability distribution of Boris’s number being low. Made more complex because it’s a bit of a zero sum game (but not entirely).

    My back of a fag packet calculation would suggest that the probability is about 95% Boris, 5% Ken, but I admit to applying considerable fudge factors to that.

    AW – any insight?

  30. @ Sergio

    Ken, Max & a few other blues are merrily forecasting a Con win at the next GE, despite Tory VI currently at 29%.

    Forgive us for thinking that Ken might win with +16% Labour VI in London, a 2%(ish) swing to Ken from Boris being sufficient &, of course, the inherent uncertainty of MOE which always leaves room for doubt when the numbers are this close. :-)

  31. The Speaker Bercow has not been everyone’s favourite for a few years now. But the guy seems to take his role and that of parliament seriously and to act impartially.

    He’s a Con MP, but he’s doing a good job IMHO.

    Gosh, I like BoJo, now Bercow…!? Therapy beckons…

  32. @BlueBob

    ‘I mean since when has a 6-8 point lead mattered.’

    You could ask Dave & George – they managed to throw away a larger lead.

    Then again, I’m sure that was always part of the master plan ;)

  33. @Mike N

    I agree, a speaker SHOULD NOT be popular. They are after all not on the governments side.

    Bercow doesn’t play a points game like Tories/Lab want to play. He actually tries to get people heard/answered – under the old speaker there were less interjections to members to quieten down, and at times it meant not everyone heard what was asked, or even the answer.

    Bercow keeps the fort, if anything he does the Tories a favour, too pro-Tory a speaker would play into the privileged narrative and make it look like the Tories think they own parliament. Cameron hates him and that makes him work as a speaker, maybe if Cameron treated the commons more seriously he’d get better clout, but in the end he just uses it to abuse backbenchers (it is just coincidence that he shows women the least respect ofc)

    On some posters here. Not sure why everyone is so defensive about Ken. End of the day if he does win I think it just means more trouble for Ed and the team. He won’t be loyal and he’ll happily undermine their policy. Best overall would be a close Boris win, the media are in their own world and basically see Ken as someone who should be polling 5%, so they’ll still criticise the Tories for such a close fight.

    As someone whose quite liked the noise of UK Labour of late, I think Ken is a step backward and will just cause trouble for them. The problem is many in Labour don’t seem to want Ken for anything but a headline. Thats one headline, think of the rest! No leave a slightly flustered Boris in London, and Camerons results in the locals will look even worse. Its not the brand that toxic, its the man presenting it they’ll say.

  34. @Sergio , AW

    However, polling for Mayoral elections is still relatively new in the UK. In 2008, YouGov were the only ones to get a result close to the figure. The last polls by mruk and Ipsos MORI’s before the vote had given it to Ken, and ICM had it as a statistical tie.

    I still think there are issues with polling second preference run-off, as this means a potentially unrepresentative sub-sample produces the final result.

  35. In practice, second preferences won’t make much difference to the result, unless the first round is very tight (say under 1%).

    Every poll has put Boris ahead for the past six weeks. It would be an extraordinary upset now if Ken were to win.

  36. I hate to be icky, but every single poll for some months now has shown Boris in the lead, and has shown him to be the winner after preferences are redistributed. I realise many people here will have a preference on who *should* be the winner, but from a polling POV, it would be difficult to predict anything other than a Boris victory

    Regards, Martyn

  37. @GreenChristian

    You know I never even thought of that and it could be that simple. Even rounding to a small degree, could over 584 seats be massive.

    I’ll have a look tonight and hopefully that sorts it out.


  38. @Jayblanc

    Don’t see what the problem is with the second preferences. End of the day, it comes down to the question: would you rather have Boris or Ken? Unless you think that Lib Dem, UKP and Green supporters should be required to either i) pretend Boris or Ken is their first choice; or ii) forfeit their say in which of the two wins the election; it seems quite fair to me.

    Still, if Boris loses to Ken on 2nd preferences (looks unlikely, but you never know), it will be interesting to see if the Tories cry foul.

  39. @Martyn

    “from a polling POV, it would be difficult to predict anything other than a Boris victory”

    Actually it is rational to predict a Ken victory based on the polling evidence, but only with the caveat that this is unlikely.

  40. Definatley seems unlikely for Boris to lose on 2nd preferences. On these figures they increase his lead by 1 point.

  41. @TheSheep

    There is also the factor that just occasionally, something happens that skews the polls that caught the pollsters out. This happened in the UK in 1992 and (to a less extent only affecting the Lib Dem vote) 2010.

    Ken might win if that happens. He might also win based on the published margin of error of the polls.

    If the polls don’t move in France, on the other hand, Sarkozy’s only hope is if the French polls are wrong in what would be the biggest upset in the history of French polling.

  42. The Mayoral race is largely disentangled from party politics- as the polls have shown these last months.

    It’s a ‘least worst of two horrible candidates’ election – and the incumbent squeaks it. My prediction fwiw after 2nd pref distributions:

    BJ 51
    KL 49

  43. @Martyn

    Looking at the YouGovs this year Boris leads by
    -2%, +2%, +8%, +6%, +2%, +4%
    so yes, one would have to think that Boris has the better chance, but it would be sensible to wait for the final poll (which last time round was the most accurate) to be sure.

  44. Oh, I should clarify that I expect Boris to just squeak in, after a tightening of the race. Half due to Ken being reconsidered, half due to Boris’s inability to give a good press interview (or even turn up for one). And next to nothing due to party politics, which has little say in a vote between personalities like this.

    I don’t think he’ll have a clement second term tho. His popular image is already fraying, and it’s just that he hasn’t used up all his charisma credit yet. Of course, he could prove me wrong and continue to refuse to give press interviews throughout the campaign, and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  45. @ Virgilio (from the last thread)

    You reminded me of my student years in Paris, when I was elected for a year as a representative of PhD students in the university administration council. I ran then as an independent on a far left list, opposed to the far right one, since all other options in-between could not find enough candidates to file, so all social democrats, greens and centrists voted for me, the list got 75%, despite the initial prediction for a 50-50 race, and for a year I did my best to represent all sensibilities and do the right choices, but I admit it was a very tiresome and time-consuming thing, so the year after I did not run for reelection, and supported instead the socialist list which this time found enough candidates to stand by itself and it indeed topped the poll. It was, though, an exciting experience, despite the fact that, as you said, I prefer by far following an election as an observer (or as a supporter of a candidate or a list) than as a candidate myself.”

    Thank you! I appreciate the kind words. Although there’s not much that I’m going to do as a Delegate, running for this was a time consuming and tiring process requiring a lot of work and a lot of effort. One problem was redistricting (boundary changes). I wouldn’t say that my District was a new one neccessarily but it was substantially altered so that a lot of people I knew no longer lived in it and couldn’t vote for me. Sometimes tantalizingly close too (like half a city block or across the street).

    Now, it’s funny you bring up your experience running for student office. At my undergraduate school, we had all these kids who were hyper obsessed with politics who would get involved in student government. They would take themselves VERY seriously. And I mean seriously. Candidates would raise campaign cash, they would meet and greet voters over by our student union, they would have supporters passing out literature to people, they would knock on doors on hall dorms, they would seek out endorsements from other on-campus student groups, and they created their own quasi political parties (or slates). Oh and once in office, they would act like politicians too (backstabbing their former coalition partners, criticizing one another to the school’s newspaper, launching formal investigations of each other, accusing each other of corrupt practices, taking advantage of the school’s budget generosity to throw lavish events at the Four Seasons Hotel and other fine dining establishments around town). The whole thing was kinda funny.

    A good friend of mine was elected Student Association President my freshman year. He was very popular and won in the runoff with 68% of the vote. Well he was embattled for most of his year long term and actually at one point sought to appoint me to a student government position (where some of his previous nominees had been already rejected by the Student Association Senate….though he didn’t tell me this at the time). I had to politely decline because I saw what a mess the whole thing was.

    But here’s the thing. None of the students ever ran as a member of a party or on a left-right agenda. In fact, I remember one Republican who ran actively working the College Howard Dean group for its endorsement. Political parties were almost irrelevant in this mix so it’s surprising to me to know that you ran as a Socialist candidate for your position.

    My slate running mates yesterday were all longtime Democratic Party activists and definitely good progressives. They all brought their progressive activist supporters to come out and vote for us. That was their constituency. My constieuncy was kinda the country club/yacht club and ladies who lunch crowd. But out of 19 male candidates, I finished third amongst them. Not bad.

    Oh this is an interesting fun fact. In one LA Congressional District, there was a candidate named ‘David Cameron’ running to be a Democratic Delegate. Don’t know if he won but now I’ll have to find out.

  46. “There were also some questions on “driverless” tube trains. People support their introduction by 44% to 36%. Asked if they’ll make the tube safer, more expensive, or lead to more strikes, on balance people think they will make the tube cheaper and reduce strikes… but by 41% to 8% think it will make the tube less safe.”

    I would totally oppose driverless tube trains in my own cities.

  47. @Amber

    “Ken, Max & a few other blues are merrily forecasting a Con win at the next GE, despite Tory VI currently at 29%.”

    I however am not…call me pedantic but I tend to trust the polling averages.

  48. It will be interesting to see any future polling about whether Hunt should resign. Today’s debate means it will be very polarised.

    Last bit of polling had lots of Tories thinking he should resign. Wonder if they will change their mind on party lines?

  49. @SocialLiberal
    Thanks for your update on US student life and political commitment, in France there is not so much involvement, participation in university elections is rather low, and the lists are more or less partisan – even if hey do non coincide with a specific political party, they almost always have a right-left orientation, and in my student years, i.e. the 80s, the far right was steadily rising, threatening the post-May 68 left-wing majorities, that represented then the “establishment”, because Mitterrand and the left were in power.
    As far as French PE is concerned, it seems that the deal is closed, barring a very extraordinary event that could topple the situation. The “poll of polls’ for the week 23 to 30 April is Hollande 54.5, Sarkozy 45.5, and such a lead has never been reversed up to now. For example, in 2007, at the same week, Sarkozy had 52.5, and in fact he received 52.9 at the runoff.
    As I had predicted, the victory of the right in Spain on November 2011 proved to be, as it had happened in 1996, the harbinger of the surge of a left-wing wave in Europe. In fact Croatia in December 2011 and Slovakia in March 2012 shifted to the left, leaving the right-wing parties at their all-time low. Last week two right-wing coalitions, those of the Netherlands and Romania, collapsed, and in Romania the leader of the Social Democrats and of the whole center-left opposition, Victor Ponta, has already assumed the position of PM, which will be almost certainly confirmed in this year’s election. Then there is France, certainly a major shift in European politics, and later this year there will be Lithuania (where for the first time two center-left parties, the Social Democrats and Labour Party, “fight” for the first place, leaving the far-right third and the governing center-right a distant fourth) and the Netherlands, where center-right parties no longer hold a majority.

  50. Have some of the UKIP and Green rows been transposed in error ?

    The age data shows the Greens at 19% amongst over 60s and the UKIP at only 3% in the same group ; whilst Greens are shown at 11% amongst CDEs and white people – far higher than UKIP. This is not only counter-intuative (particularly in the scale),but would represent a significant change in previous polling on Londoners in the ‘other parties category’.

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