A new YouGov poll for ITV London has topline voting intentions for the London mayoral election of Livingstone 44%(-1), Johnson 40%(-4), Paddick 8%(+1). I can’t find the exact dates of the poll yet, but press reports suggest it was conducted after the Channel 4 Dispatches programme criticising Ken Livingstone, and the preceeding couple of weeks of agressive attacks on Livingstone by the Evening Standard.

If the poll was done after the programme, it suggests that so far it hasn’t actually made any significant impact upon his support. Rather it seems to be the “others” who are gaining support – though at around 8% their total is still very low compared to the 18% minor parties got at the last mayoral election, albeit, that was probably partially to do with the election falling on the same day as the European elections and the consequential boost for UKIP.

Incidentally, Ken Livingstone’s campaign responded by saying “This is a welcome opening up of Ken’s lead, especially as internet polling has always underestimated Ken’s support compared with actual elections and other opinion polls.” In terms of comparisons with actual elections they are wrong. The 2000 election was before YouGov’s time, so there is only 2004 to compare with, and in polls conducted on the same basis as this one, YouGov called that one exactly right.

Judging from a similiar comment after the last poll, I think the Livingstone campaign are basing their claim on the fact that a YouGov poll prior to the last Mayoral election showed Steve Norris only 2 points behind Ken when really he ended up ten points behind. What actually happened in 2004 was that the final YouGov poll showed both figures for all respondents, and figures for only those certain to vote. The figures for all respondents correctly predicted a 10 point Livingstone victory, the figures for only those certain to vote underestimated Livingstone’s support. These recent polls are based on all respondents, not just those certain to vote – so the comparison should with the figures that correctly predicted the 2004 result.

UPDATE: The full figures are up on YouGov’s website here. Two things are worth noting. Firstly there is a breakdown of the “others” vote and, despite the rise since the last poll, there is no sign of any of the fringe candidates sticking out above the others. The highest figure is UKIP on 2%. More important to note is the very small sample size. The poll was of only 339 people, about a third of the size of the last poll. Given that a third of respondents were excluded from the final figures because they didn’t give voting intentions, these figures are based on only around 240 people. The margin of error on these figures is huge, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into changes or lack of them after all.

17 Responses to “YouGov – Livingstone apparently undamaged by Dispatches”

  1. Thank goodness for a new poll, even I was getting fed up of Scotland…..


  2. LOL, I was thinking last night that I can’t recall the last time we’d gone so long without a poll. Surprised nobody started getting withdrawal symptoms . . .

    Interesting poll but a shame we have not much to compare it to. I do hope we start getting regular polls in the run-up to the election.

  3. Two new national polls also
    ICM/Guardian Con 37 -3 Lab 35 +2 LibDem 20 +2
    Yougov/Teleg Con 41 -2 Lab 33 n/c LibDem 16 +2

    You can argue about whose figures are correct but the direction is clear on both , Cameron sinking , Cleggy rising .

  4. The governmnet is recovering in the polls slightly because they are in the news.

    Hasn’t Boris learnt from Cameron.

    The public do not pay much attention to politics. So you need to try to get in the news all the time. Even when Cameron had bad publicity over grammar schools the party’s ratings went up.

    That is what is haappened to Ken people are focused on Ken right now.

  5. 37 if true would be a major disappointment (how long ago would that have been said) but I would hardly define 41 as “sinking” Mark.

  6. “The figures [in 2004] for all respondents correctly predicted a 10 point Livingstone victory.” That’s wrong.

    Livingstone 36%, Norris 28% was the final result in fact.

  7. Philip , It may be 41 in Yougov but it is still down 2 on the previous figure . It does not matter how much your ship’s plimsoll line is above the water level , if it gets nearer the water line it is still sinking lol .

  8. An interesting set of polls. On the London poll, I’m not altogether surprised that Ken is up. Over the years he’s always managed to ride through press attacks by arguing that he is using every means to represent Londoners – these attacks are awesomely minor compared to what went on at the time of the old GLC. My impression is that the current anti Ken campaign is a little rabid, with not much of real concern behind it, and that it might end up being counter productive for his detractors. Interesting also that Boris has caused a stir this weekend by accepting help from an investment firm that Ken turned down in 2004 citing potential conflict of interest.

    The two national polls also raise issues – was the post Christmas boost for the Tories a blip, with the earlier narrowing of the lead the real underlying state of play? The Tories still lead, but the LD’s are moving, but the recent news hasn’t been good for Brown again yet their poll position has improved, albeit marginally. I still feel that the Tory position is fragile – I’m not at all sure that enough voters have really bought into Cameron’s Tories, and while Labour is not popular either there is a position for Clegg to capture. Ken Clarke rather hits the nail on the head in an interview out tomorrow by arguing Cameron needs to play a long game rather than go for quick, easy hits. This is probably why he has not really managed to capitalised on the Northern Rock issue as they have failed to take a position and clearly hold it, whereas the LDs, right or wrong, have been much more stable and credible. This is always an issue for oppositions, but particularly so with Cameron as he will always be vulnerable to the ‘Chameleon’ tag.

  9. In view of the rather virulent media comment on both Brown and Livingstone, any sign of even a holding of Labour’s support is significant.

    It is going to be a marathon, rather than a sprint, for Brown/Cameron – and, even after a run of (partly self-inflicted) bad luck, there seem to be few signs yet that the race is over.

  10. Mark, a change of two is within the margin of error and 41 is entirely consistent with the last couple of months polls, being above the YouGov/Sunday Times poll of 27/12 and identical to 4 polls in October/November.

  11. Peter Cairns – I’m not fed up with Scotland atall – I will ask you some more questions about it in due course.

    Although I’m a Tory, and a strong supporter of the union (although in favour of the Scottish Parliament), I do actually think the Salmond regime (provided it never gets it’s main policy through) is a breath of fresh air.

    London Mayor election – I’m pretty certain this is going to be close.

  12. Okay – time for me to give one of my accurate predictions – this time for London (not long to go on this one).

    Ken Livingstone is dying in the water i’m afraid – he now only has the grass roots backing of hard line Labour & Socialist groups & large inner city immigrant communities .

    My prediction – a very close race (the Tories will win by a whisker) , just like the national picture – Londoners want change & this will be a straight fight between Conservative & Labour – the minor parties like the Liberals will be lost in the dust of the fight .

  13. The version of the poll showing Norris only 2% behind was the one which got all the publicity in 2004, partly because it made the election look wide open, partly because it fitted with the newspaper’s preferences and partly because at the time the national election polls were generally quoting ‘certain to vote’ only in the belief that they were more accurate. So the comparison is very explicable.

  14. Anthony – Bob Sykes has posted this on Politicalbetting. Any thoughts…?

    “If Boris has 42% of men and 41% of women, how come his “All” vote is only 40%?

    How does that work?

    I see Ken has 42% of women and 45% of men, yet despite there being more women in the poll than men, his average comes out at 44%.”

    My immediate reaction was rounding but I cannot make that work.

  15. Mike – my guess is that, as Mark Senior suggests, the column headings have buggered up. I suspect two of the other columns are actually the male and female figures.

  16. Having read the article in the Independent today it’s remarkable that Labour are predicted to win so many more seats than the Tories with only 30% of the poll.