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Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris


9:40 am - January 21st 2012

by Leo Barasi    


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Previous polls had suggested that Boris Johnson was on course for a comfortable re-election, but this week’s poll has put Ken Livingstone narrowly ahead, give or take a margin of error.

Quite simply, Labour voters have shifted strongly into the Ken camp, as the charts below show.

The first shows how Tory supporters would vote in the London election, comparing last June with the latest poll.

There has been very little change, with Boris taking pretty much all their votes.

But when we do the same for Labour supporters, we see a large movement of Boris voters into Ken’s pile:

The reason this makes sense to me is that, in June last year, Ken was not greatly in the public eye. Many Labour identifiers may not have felt that he was their candidate. In contrast, Boris was very clearly due to run for re-election, and Tory voters would have known that he was standing for their party.

So what we’re seeing now is perhaps a more normal two-horse race, where each candidate commands the support of their party’s national voters, and competes for the swing voters.

Other than voting intent, the point that may concern the camp most is the question of whether Boris is in touch with ordinary people. Since June, this has fallen from 20% to 13%, while Ken’s score has nudged up from 37% to 40%. Being seen to be out of touch at a time like this, against an opponent who’s fighting on cost of living, is risky ground.

There may be also be encouragement for Ken that there remain 15% of Labour voters who aren’t supporting their candidate: 5pts more than the other side have. If these are winnable low-hanging fruit, Ken may be able to draw on them to extend his lead.

One other note of encouragement for Ken’s side is that this poll was taken when Labour’s support was slightly lower relative to the Tories than it has been for nearly all of the last year.

If it drifts back up a couple of points, they could gain a few more votes. Of course this may not happen: it’s entirely possible that Labour’s national support could fall a little further.


A longer version of this article is at Noise of the Crowd

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About the author
Leo is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He manages communications for a small policy organisation, and writes about polling and info from public opinion surveys at Noise of the Crowd
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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/z97N7HN8

  2. alan mills

    Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/oMg3BkGY via @libcon

  3. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/zms8UVku

  4. sean bastable

    Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/z97N7HN8

  5. KrustyAllslopp

    Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/oMg3BkGY via @libcon

  6. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/tLAYIPk3

  7. roslinda

    #UK : Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/tLAYIPk3

  8. lee james brown

    Good stuff by @libcon: Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/kQOJmRxj

  9. Joy Johnson

    RT @leejamesbrown: Good stuff by @libcon: Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/nQoBAn5T

  10. Neill Shenton

    Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris http://t.co/z97N7HN8

  11. Saturday London Links

    […] While we have some graph action on the Ken vs Boris show at Liberal Conspiracy. […]

  12. Alex Braithwaite

    Why Ken Livingstone has more to cheer about, against Boris | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/FYRK1rpm via @libcon

  13. sunny hundal

    @paulwaugh @polhomepulse according to YouGov, Labour voters for Boris are down to 8% http://t.co/VHROt7sV – you're saying they're at 17%





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