Boris Johnson is nine points ahead of Ken Livingstone in the first poll conducted since both men were confirmed as their parties’ candidates. That is three points more than his winning margin in 2008. Boris is ahead of Ken in every single age group, including the 18-24s.
The result, in a ComRes survey for the Standard, LBC and ITV London, puts Boris on 44% and Ken on 35%. It comes even though the same poll shows Labour three points ahead of the Tories on general election voting intention in the capital. It was done between 27-29 September, a time when Labour (and Ken) were getting substantial media coverage from their conference.
It underlines once again Labour’s staggering folly in selecting as their candidate someone Boris described on Sunday as a “creature from the crypt” with the “nails pinging off the coffin”.
Of course, there is eighteen months to go, and this is the calm before the cuts as far as the Tories are concerned. Nor is there a Lib Dem name to put to people yet (just an “Other” or “None of these” choice, which got a total of 21%), so it’s still not a totally fair representation of the choice which will be available to Londoners.
But it does seem to show, for the moment, that several things I’ve long argued are correct: that Boris can indeed separate himself from the national Tory party, which is at least nine points less popular in London than he is; and that Ken, contrary to his repeated claims during his nomination campaign, runs well behind, not ahead of, the national Labour Party.
The interesting thing about Boris’s percentage score (44%) is that it is almost exactly (one per cent more) than he got at the election. The increase in the gap between the two is because Ken’s popularity has fallen further than Boris’s has risen.