The latest YouGov poll for the Evening Standard has Boris Johnson leading by 4 points with just three days to go in the London Mayoral contest*.
Last week the gap was just 2 points.
YouGov polls are taken particularly seriously in Mayoral elections because they have a track record of accuracy. Last time around they were predicting a Boris Johnson win when others were predicting a tie or a Ken win. So being behind with YouGov is bad news.
Yet in reality, this poll isn’t much worse than the poll so many people were getting excited about last week. That was 51-49, so Boris is up one and Ken is down one.
That’s real margin of error stuff.
There are still two (linked) things that can swing this election Livingstone’s way. Firstly – relentlessly focussing on the Labour brand in the final days. Labour still leads by 16% in the capital. Livingstone’s campaign have been doing this more and more in recent weeks, and have reaped the benefit – today’s poll shows Labour voters are returning to Ken – but so far it’s still a trickle rather than a torrent. “Clothes peg” and “Boris Bonus” aside, if the Labour vote turns out for Livingstone, he’ll win.
That’s where the second potential wildcard of this election comes in – turnout, and specifically “Get Out The Vote”. The Labour campaign has been focused from day one on organisation on the ground, collecting voter ID and turning out the Labour vote in areas that have often been ignored by the party. At the last count there were 54 people working full-time on the Livingstone campaign, a large chunk of whom are organising in the outer London boroughs. Anecdotally, in my (usually true blue) corner of outer London, Labour has been working hard, and the Tories have been invisible, save for a few Boris leaflets.
In an election that could (and should) still come down to turnout, the ability to get the Labour vote out both in solid Labour areas, and areas where Labour candidates are rare as hen’s teeth will be a deciding factor.
Decisions made about campaign priorities 18 months ago could still swing this for Ken.
It’s advantage Boris, no doubt, but for Ken – the game is still on.
* – I can’t find the tables online to see if there are any strange results by borough like last week’s ComRes. If there are I’ll let you know.