Ken stays ahead as Boris doubles-down on blaming young people for youth unemployment

Alex Hern covers the latest news from the Mayoral race, including ComRes predicting a win for Ken, and Boris blaming young people for youth unemployment.


A new poll, released today, shows Ken Livingstone maintaining a two per cent lead against the incumbent mayor Boris Johnson.

The ComRes online poll finds that Livingstone gains 46 per cent of the first preferences to Johnson’s 44 per cent, and that after all second preferences have been re-allocated, the predicted result is 51-49.

Despite this, Boris is still the candidate most Londoners expect to win; 46 per cent think he’ll be the eventual victor, compared to 24 per cent for Ken, and eight per cent for Brian Paddick, the Lib Dem candidate who is also running again, making the election a three-way repeat of 2008.

Counter-intuitively, this latter statistic should be concerning for the Boris camp; complacency for his team and their campaigners would be damaging in what is likely to be an extremely hard-fought election.

There is strong evidence for an ‘underdog effect’, where the candidate who begins behind gains a larger share of the vote through campaigning than the one who begins ahead, and if Ken can maintain that boost even while actually being ahead, things could look bad indeed for the Conservatives.

Already, there are slightly dodgy tactics being used in a race which is shaping up to be one of the dirtier British campaigns of recent years.

Last week, Political Scrapbook reported that a TfL advertising campaigntaxpayer funded, and supposedly politically neutral – has been launched just in time for the election, highlighting all the improvements made in the last three years.

As Scrapbook notes:

The 2009-2012 timeframe given by the Every Journey Matters campaign provides for a time lapse allowing Boris’ transport programme to come on stream, and runs up to this year’s mayoral contest.

With the mayoral election just 114 days away and an introduction written and signed by the Mayor, this looks strikingly like campaign literature.

The mayor hasn’t been sitting on his laurels, however, with a column in the Telegraph that doubles down on his Friday claim that young people were to blame for their own massive levels of unemployment.

This week, he’s decided that the problem lies in the fact that:

There aren’t enough young people who have the skills and self-esteem to take what jobs there are – and there are too many young people who lack both.

Apparently having skills and self-esteem is all it takes to turn seven unemployed people for every job vacancy into a utopia of full employment. Thanks Boris!

See also:

Boris Johnson’s words show he doesn’t care about young people – Val Shawcross AM, January 20th 2012

Ken pulls ahead of “increasingly out of touch” Boris – Shamik Das, January 19th 2012

Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all – January 16th 2012, Joanne McCartney AM

It’s official: the 50p tax rate raises revenue – Alex Hern, January 9th 2012

What costs £1.3 million a pop and, Boris hopes, will get him reelected? – Val Shawcross AM, December 16th 2011

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