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Are Labour’s YouGov smears affecting the betting?

March 31st, 2008

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    Should you be capitalising on the lies about the 2004 polls?

The Labour spin machine has gone into overdrive today to try to discredit the latest YouGov poll that shows Ken Livingstone again facing a double digit polling deficit in his battle with Boris Johnson.

A statement by the party said: “…YouGov has a record of significantly underestimating Ken Livingstone’s vote in London. On the day before the last Mayoral election YouGov put put Ken Livingstone just two per cent ahead of the Conservative Steve Norris, leading to an Evening Standard headline of ‘It’s Neck and Neck’ even although Livingstone actually won by nearly 11 per cent.”

This is a fabrication by the party and should be dismissed. The facts are that on the day before the 2004 vote the Evening Standard carried a report of a YouGov survey which found that amongst all potential electors Livingstone was beating Norris by 37% to 26%. When the second preference votes were taken into account, YouGov found a split of 55% to 45%. The actual result after the second preferences were counted was Livingstone 55.4% to Norris’s 44.6% – which meant that YouGov was right to within 0.8%

These figures are directly comparable with the poll that is out today. YouGov has by far the best record of any pollster London in mayoral elections in spite of what Labour chooses to say. In 2004 the only other firm to carry out a surveys before the election, Populus, found a 58% to 42% split in Ken’s favour.

Given the polling the betting story of the day is the way Ken’s price has held up. Clearly there are a lot of punters out their who are gambling not to make money but to show their support for their allegiance – the technical betting term is “mugs”. My guess is that they are being fuelled by Labour’s lies.

The latest prices are Boris 0.45/1 and Ken 2.25/1.

Mike Smithson






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