Last month, in an attempt to gauge the balance of political opinion in the capital, I extracted the London components of three national opinion polls and reached the cautious conclusion that the Conservatives were a long way behind Labour and the slightly more cautious one that Sadiq Khan remained one course for a comfortable win in the delayed election for London Mayor, now due to take place next May. What are national polls telling us about London six weeks on?
The short answer is much the same. I’ve looked at the data tables of national voting intension polls published four companies – Opinium, Redfield & Wilton, Survation and YouGov – in the past fortnight. Their findings were as follows:
- Opinium: Conservatives 30%; Labour 50%; Lib Dems 13%; Greens 6%.
- Redfield & Wilton: Conservatives 31%; Labour 54%; Lib Dems 8%; Greens 5%.
- Survation: Conservatives 27.3%; Labour 40.5%; Lib Dems 7.8%, Greens 6.7%.
- You Gov: Conservatives 29%; Labour 53%; Lib Dems 6%; Greens 6%.
As before, important caveats should be applied. A minimum sample size of 1,000 people is needed for a really robust opinion poll. The total number of London respondents to these four polls was 833.
Even so, the big gaps between support for the Tories and support for Labour in each of them are striking. The overall proportion of all 833 Londoners surveyed in all four polls supporting Labour was 49 per cent while those supporting the Conservatives amounted to only 29 per cent.
Whichever way you cut the numbers, Labour appears to still be far more popular than the Tories in London, with the Lib Dems and the Greens still a long way back. And what might the national polling figures indicate about the state of the mayoral race?
As always, it should be stressed that elections for London Mayor and elections for London MPs are not directly comparable. Not only are the voting systems different, a mayoral candidate can be more or less popular than his or her party, as the fortunes of Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone have shown in the past.
Moreover, the Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who was a vast 25 percentage points behind Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan in the last poll of mayoral election voting intentions back in March, can reasonably expect his chances to have improved due to the subsequent withdrawal from the contest of Independent candidate Rory Stewart, a former Tory minister.
Nonetheless, the seemingly large and resilient Labour lead over the Conservatives in London suggested by the four recent national polls focussed on here is bound to make happier reading for the Labour Mayor seeking re-election than for his Tory challenger.
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