Labour leads the Conservatives by 30 percentage points in London according to a new opinion poll, suggesting the party could further strengthen its already dominant position in the capital at the borough elections on 5 May.
The survey, conducted by Deltapoll for London Communications Agency (LCA), puts Labour on 54 per cent compared with the Tories’ 24, with the Liberal Democrats on nine, the Green Party on five and other parties on nine per cent combined.
It is the second poll this year giving Labour a huge lead, following a YouGov survey in January which put Labour 32 points ahead of the Tories in the capital, with support at 55 per cent.
The Deltapoll findings will encourage Labour activists in the vulnerable Tory-run boroughs of Barnet and Wandsworth and reassure those in Croydon, where the Conservatives are aiming to win the borough’s inaugural contest for a directly-elected Mayor in the wake of the Labour-run council’s well-documented financial problems. Labour is seeking to make gains in Tory-controlled Hillingdon and Westminster, while there are Conservative hopes of doing the same in Labour-run Harrow.
The new poll also found that the cost of living is Londoners’ biggest cause for concern, with more than half – 52 per cent – placing it in the top two or three of a list of 13 issues. Housing affordability and availability was second on 29, followed by the war in Ukraine on 26, policing and crime on 25 and inflation on 23.
The scale of Labour’s lead should, however, be treated with some caution, according to experts at LCA, with board director Jenna Goldberg saying “a whole range of factors could easily combine to chip away at this considerable lead” and underling that Tories – as has been notable in Barnet, Wandsworth and Croydon – are focusing their campaigns on local issues.
Paddy Hennessy, a senior adviser at LCA and formerly director of communications for Sadiq Khan, said that the Conservative vote in both the 2018 borough elections and last year’s race for London Mayor proved to be “more resilient” than pre-election polls had indicated. “Furthermore, Labour strategists may ignore London, where the party’s success has been priced-in, in favour of seeking a narrative of winning back areas of the ‘red wall’ in the Midlands and the North,” Hennessy added.
Writing for On London about January’s YouGov poll, elections expert Lewis Baston made the same point about polls in recent years tending to exaggerate the strength of Labour support, while also noting that even if Labour’s polling lead turns out to be 10 points higher than the actual results the party still do better in vote share terms than in 2018, when it improved its position the boroughs overall.
In 2018 Labour took 44 per cent of the vote London-wide and won control of 21 of the 32 boroughs, with the Conservatives securing a 29 per cent vote share and winning seven boroughs. The Lib Dems received a 12.7 per cent vote share and won three boroughs.
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