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Labour private poll: “Boris winning the 2nd prefs war”

February 28th, 2008

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    The secret survey that shows Ken could be in trouble

When on Tuesday Ken sought to counter the latest YouGov mayoral figures by revealing party private polling data he set off a disclosure process that has, for the first time I believe, allowed us to look at the full numbers from a Labour survey that was supposed to be secret.

And with this election looking very tight a key factor will be how the second preferences split – will they favour Ken as they did four years ago or could they offer something to the Tory challenger, Boris Johnson?

    From this poll, at least, it is not looking good for the incumbent. According to his party’s MORI data for every three second preference votes that he’s getting his Tory opponent is picking up four.

Labour’s private poll looked at this in three ways and on each approach the picture was the same – whether for all those naming a choice, the “certains to vote” or from a third question that has so far not been revealed – a forced choice between Boris and Ken

To the question “Thinking specifically about Boris Johnson, the Conservative candidate and Ken Livingstone, the Labour candidate, if you were forced to choose between
them, which would you prefer to be Mayor of London?”
those certain to vote split Ken 49% to Boris’s 47%. Given that when all candidates were included Ken had a four point lead this underlines the point.

There’s a further factor which should be worrying the Ken camp – turnout. In 2004 this was 36.95%. The “certain to vote” proportion in this Labour Mori poll was 48%. My view is that the smaller the turnout figure the more challenging the election will be for Ken and that it will end up being closer to what happened last time than the polling figure.

It should be noted that the later YouGov poll with Boris 5% ahead was taken after the Lee Jasper suspension, does not include any probing on second preferences and had no turnout element.

In the Mayoral betting Ken has continued to move out. He’s now at 0.79/1. Based on the information we now have Ken is worth laying at anything up to evens.

Mike Smithson






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