Boris vs Ken: 10 days to the London election

Today’s London poll has suggested that the mayoral race is still open, with Boris’ lead reduced to 2pts. It’s the first time since February that the contest has been so tight:

Since each of the last six polls, including today’s, has been within margin of error of a Boris lead of 5pts, it’s possible that the narrow lead just reflects random variance.

But digging beneath the numbers suggests a more decisive trend.

Between January and mid-April, Boris began scoring much better among 2010 Tory voters than Ken did among 2010 Labour voters. The gap became as wide as 14pts.

An explanation for growing support among previous Tory voters could be Lynton Crosby’s style of ‘get out the base’ campaigning.

But in the last two weeks, while Boris has neared the limits of support from 2010 Tory voters, the Ken campaign has made up more ground among Labour voters. The gap has now reduced to 7pts:

This may in part be a product of Labour’s current support in London now being at its highest point this year, 50%.

But even if Labour don’t increase their national support in the capital any further, there is still more space for Ken to increase his share among previous party supporters than there is for Boris to do the same.

The other voters

Last month we saw that Boris had just made a significant gain among people who wouldn’t vote Labour or Tory in a general election.

Since then, his score among those voters has stayed at the same point. This is currently about a fifth of the London electorate (those who’re likely to vote), so a gain for either candidate of a few points among this group would show in the overall numbers:

 

So, with 10 days until the election, Boris still looks more likely to win. But the Labour campaign has a larger pool of former voters to try to win over, and a small movement to Ken would swing the result.

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