UK Politics

Neck and Neck: Boris 51% v Ken 49%

The race for the job of Mayor London is now neck and neck after the woes suffered by the Conservative led coalition in recent weeks start to filter down and hit Boris Johnson’s campaign. It suggests that Livingstone and Labour could still win this race.

Johnson’s six point lead has been washed away and he is now just two points ahead of Ken Livingstone. Labour voters appear to be getting behind Livingstone who has suffered a long run of troubles as has been much discussed on this blog.

The YouGov poll in tonight’s London Evening Standard newspaper has Johnson on 51 to Livingstone’s 49 — back to where the two stood in February.

The acres of negative press coverage in recent weeks around issues from the buget, to a possible fuel strike (and a government induced panic), dropping the 50% tax rate, the pastie and granny taxes are all, it appears, starting to weight down on Johnson.

Livingstone could also be enjoying some of the trickle down effect from Labour’s strong lead in national polls over the Conservatives despite recent setbacks such as the election victory of one man sectarian band George Galloway in Blackburn Bradford.

“But the poll of 1,138 Londoners, as the contest enters its final full week before May 3, shows that Labour has now opened up a 19 point lead over the Conservatives in Westminster voting, suggesting the party’s problems nationally are starting to bite.

“The survey shows Mr Johnson is still ahead of the Conservatives while Mr Livingstone is lagging just behind the Labour party. The so-called “Boris bonus” remains at plus 10 points. But the “Ken drag” is now minus three, down  from minus six last week. Labour has spent the last week targeting core supporters who said they would vote for Mr Johnson this time round.

The party’s efforts appear to have paid off. Last week, 13 per cent of Labour voters at the London Assembly elections who are  torn between the big two said they would vote for Mr Johnson in a run-off with Mr Livingstone — this has now gone down to nine per cent. Mr Livingstone delivered a major speech at Labour’s central HQ today calling for the last 10 days of the campaign to “focus on something different to the usual soap opera”, the Standard reports.

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