Boris and Ken neck and neck in race for Mayor

Boris Johnson's lead over Ken Livingstone in the race to be London Mayor has vanished, a YouGov poll out today reveals, reports Shamik Das.

Boris Johnson’s lead over Ken Livingstone in the race to be London Mayor has vanished, a YouGov poll out today reveals. When asked who they would vote for if the election were to be held tomorrow, Londoners say Livingstone (45%), Johnson (43%), Lib Dem (6%) and Other (7%), though when asked who they’d rather have as Mayor, if they had to choose, the vote splits the other way – Johnson (45%), Livingstone (42%).

Immediately after his election in 2008, Johnson held a 16-point lead over Livingstone, while after the announcement Livingstone would be the Labour candidate in 2012, the lead shrank to nine points; now, there’s nothing to separate them.

As well as the Boris v Ken ratings, the headline voting intention amongst Londoners shows Labour on 50 per cent, with the Conservatives on 34%, followed by the Liberal Democrats (9%), UKIP (3%), Greens (2%), and BNP (1%).

Nationally, the latest Sunday Times/YouGov poll has Labour on 45 per cent, the Tories on 35% and the Lib Dems on 9% – the first poll since the election showing Labour ahead of the coalition parties combined, as reported by Tim Horton on Left Foot Forward yesterday – with YouGov president Peter Kellner today revealing:

“For the first time since the last millennium, Labour’s support exceeds that of the Tories and Lib Dems combined.”

Among other findings in the Sunday Times/YouGov poll were:

Government’s record: Do you approve or disapprove of it to date?

Approve 30%, Disapprove 55%;

Coalition good or bad: Will the coalition government be good or bad for “people like you”?

Good 22%, Bad 56%;

State of the economy: How good or bad is Britain’s economy at the moment?

Good 4%, Bad 78%;

Financial situation: How will your household’s financial situation change over the next 12 months?

Get Better 9%, get Worse 61%;

Speed of deficit reduction: Is the government going too fast, too slow or about right?

Too Fast 57%, too Slow 6%, about Right 26%;

Big Society:

Do you understand what David Cameron means when he talks about a “Big Society”?

Yes 42%, No 51%;

In principle, does it sound like a good or bad idea?

Good 41%, Bad 31%;

Do you volunteer:

Yes 17%, I’d like to 10%, I don’t have the time 28%, I’m not interested 30%;

Tuition fees: Will the new scholarship programme increase or decrease the number of students from poor backgrounds who are able to go to the top universities?

Increase 4%, Decrease 60%, No difference 26%;

On the headline figures, Kellner concludes his commentary:

“…the signs are that a number of things in recent weeks have come together to dent the Government’s reputation: the rise in VAT and petrol duty; the bad GDP figures in late January; the rows over bankers’ bonuses, prisoners’ votes and the sale of Britain’s publicly-owned forests; and stories of impending cuts to local services.

“New governments are often able to shrug off occasional setbacks. But there comes a point when they accumulate and cause real damage. As Claudius famously says in Hamlet: ‘When sorrows come, they come not as single spies but in battalions’. From David Cameron’s point of view, the early weeks of 2011 have seen the bad battalions arrive in force.”

• Sample sizes: London: 1,259 (fieldwork: 8-10 Feb), National: 2,419 (fieldwork: 10-11 Feb); data were weighted.

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