It’s been almost two months since we’ve had any polling on the London mayoral race, but Opinium have released a new poll today showing Sadiq Khan still ahead. First round preferences are Khan 31%, Goldsmith 26%, Whittle 2%, Berry 2%, Pidgeon 2%, Galloway <1% (these figures are including don't knows, hence the low scores. Without don't knows it would work out at Khan 48%, Goldsmith 42%, Berry, Whittle and Pidgeon all on 3% and Galloway on 1%.)

Given the low level of support for all the candidates outside the main two Khan is close to winning on the first round anyway, but after asking a forced choice and reallocating preferences between the final two it works out at Khan 55%, Goldsmith 45%. Full tabs are here.

I’m just catching up on the YouGov London poll earlier in the week for LBC – full tabs are here. Last May Labour enjoyed a solid swing in their favour in London and ended up nine points ahead of the Tories, they’ve largely maintained that support – YouGov’s London voting intention figures with changes from the general election are CON 37%(+2), LAB 44%(nc), LDEM 4%(-4), UKIP 11%(+3), GRN 2%(-3).

London mayoral voting intentions are KHAN 45%, GOLDSMITH 35%, WHITTLE 6%, BERRY 5%, PIDGEON 4%, GALLOWAY 2%. Sadiq Khan’s lead over Zac Goldsmith is slightly larger than the Labour lead, but not by very much. There are very few Tories saying they’d vote Khan or Labour voters saying they’d vote Goldsmith – essentially it looks like an electorate splitting along their normal partisan loyalties and in a city that tends to vote Labour that’s a good sign for Sadiq Khan.

In the last two mayoral elections Boris Johnson managed to reach out beyond the usual Conservative vote, but he is a rather unique politician and it remains to be seen if Zac Goldsmith can do the same. It may be that current polls are just picking up people’s default partisan loyalties, and that as we get closer to the election people people’s votes will become more influenced by their attitudes towards Goldsmith and Khan. If they don’t, Khan will have an obvious advantage in a city where Labour romped home in 2015 and where the direction of political movement is towards Labour.


We have three new polls so far today. TNS have put out a new GB poll, which has topline figures of CON 33%(nc), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 16%(-1), GRN 5%(+1) – clearly no significant change since their previous poll (tabs are here).

ComRes have a new poll of the 40 Labour held constituencies in Scotland (that is excluding Falkirk, where Eric Joyce sat out his term as an independent). In 2010 the share of vote in these seats was CON 14%, LAB 51%, SNP 19%, LDEM 14%. The new ComRes poll found support standing at CON 13%(-1), LAB 37%(-14), SNP 43%(+24), LDEM 2%(-12). The seven point SNP lead represents a swing of 19 points from Lab to SNP, the equivalent of a sixteen point SNP lead in a national Scottish poll (tabs are here).

Finally YouGov have a new London poll for the Evening Standard, which has topline figures of CON 34%(+2), LAB 45%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 8%(-2), GRN 4%(-1) – changes are from YouGov’s previous London poll a month ago. The eleven point Labour lead represents a swing of 4.5 points from Con to Lab since the general election, the equivalent of a two point Labour lead in a national GB poll (tabs are here).

YouGov have released two sub-national polls today – one of London, one of young people. The London poll for the Evening Standard has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5% (tabs. This is a twelve point Labour lead in the capital, rather than the eight point lead in the YouGov/London poll a week ago. When the previous poll came out I speculated on whether the three point swing from Con-to-Lab suggested a smaller swing to Labour in London than elsewhere in Britain, this poll with its five point swing from Con to Lab is bigger than that implied by national polls, cancelling the other one out. We probably need more London polls to have any confidence on whether the swing there is bigger, smaller, or just the same.

Secondly there is a YouGov poll of young people for the British Youth Council. Amongst under 25s it shows voting intentions of CON 22%, LAB 36%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 12%, GRN 19% (tabs). Note that Green score, in third place on 19% but close behind the Tories in second. Earlier on this week I saw some people getting overexcited about an under 25s crossbreak in a YouGov poll showing the Conservatives ahead – such things are really worth ignoring. The crossbreaks for young people in GB polls are normally around 150 at best, and once you take out don’t knows and won’t votes that often shrinks to 100 or so. That gives you a margin of error of at at least plus or minus 10%, so it is inevitable that given time you are going to get weird and wacky crossbreaks that look interesting and amazing, but are just normal sample variation. If you want to know how young people are voting ideally wait for bespoke poll of young people, properly weighted to their demographics. At the very least, aggregate up figures over a long period to get beyond the daily noise.

Finally, today we’ve had another step in the ongoing debates debate, with David Cameron saying he will only take part in one, seven-way debate, in March. Naturally it’s provoked lots of comment about how the public will react. I wrote about polling on debates and what difference it makes back in January, and my opinion is pretty much unchanged from then. It’s not a wholly Westminster bubble story – the polls back in January showed that people were noticing it to some degree, and even asked in a neutral way there was a clear perception that Cameron was trying to avoid them more than other leaders, so it was being picked up. Whether that changes anything is a completely different matter – ignore the forced “does this make Cameron look like a wimp?” sort of questions we’ll inevitably get. The things to judge it by are whether it makes a difference to voting intention, or to David Cameron’s own approval ratings, best PM ratings, ratings on being out of touch and so on. Personally I doubt it will (to answer my own question, I expect the public will react with mild indifference, as they do to most political stories. The overwhelming majority of things make no difference!) but the evidence at the weekend and in weeks to come will tell.

YouGov London poll

I’m a little late with this, but just to flag up that yesterday’s Times had a new YouGov poll of London. Topline voting intentions there are CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 9%, GRN 6% (tabs here).

I sometimes hear a sort of London as the weathervane of the country argument, as London goes so the country goes. It doesn’t, despite a Tory mayor it’s Labour leaning compared to the country as whole, and it doesn’t necessarily swing in the same way as the rest of the country either. In 2010 while the Conservatives were seven points ahead in the country as a whole, Labour won in London by 2 points, and the Conservatives managed a smaller swing in London than elsewhere.

This poll suggests a 3 point swing from Con to Lab in London, the equivalent of a 1 point Conservative lead in national polling, so actually a little less than national polls are currently showing. It could be the Tories are doing a little better in London, or it could just be ordinary sample error – as ever, it’s just one poll and shouldn’t be overinterpreted. A three point swing in London would net Labour three or four gains from the Tories – Hendon, Brentford and Isleworth, Enfield North and, right on a knife edge, Croydon Central.