Steve Norris at 11 is a great value political bet – a big return for a small risk
ONE. The only electors whose views matter are those one in three Londoners that bother to vote at local elections. In a low turnout election the real campaign is not what’s reported in the media but the efficiency in which the party machines identify and then get their own supporters out on the day.
TWO. The mathematics of a low-turnout mean that to be certain of victory Norris needs to get less than one in seven Londoners to actually vote for him and since Michael Howard became leader the morale of Tory activists is high.
THREE. The inherent bias in the UK that skews General Elections in favour of Labour works in precisely the opposite way in the London Mayoral Election where it’s aggregate votes across the capital that count not seats.
FOUR. There are substantially higher turn-out rates in outer Tory and Lib Dem areas than Labour’s strongholds giving them a disproportionate affect on the outcome.
FIVE. Even in the bad times under Hague and IDS the Tories defied their national poll ratings to come top on aggregate votes in the last two all-London local elections. How much better will they do than the 34% in 2002?
SIX. Historically Labour has received 13-15% FEWER votes in London local elections than its average national opinion poll ratings – the Tories and Lib Dems receiving 3-6% MORE. The national polls are now about level.
SEVEN. Alleged Livingstone supporters have a history of telling lies to pollsters. The opinion polls last time gave him leads over Norris ranging from 57% to 34% in the final week. It was actually 11.9%. In that final week poll 50% declared themselves “absolutely certain” to vote – the actual figure was 34%. The discrepancy was almost solely because Ken’s “absolutely certain to vote” supporters did not show up.
EIGHT.What opinion polls there have been this time have shown Livingstone’s leads at 15-21% – all comfortably within the huge margin of error from four years ago.
NINE.This time Ken is standing for Labour and Conservatives and Lib Dems will vote with their party tickets. The polling evidence is that there will be little cross party voting.
TEN. The detailed result from 2000 shows that Steve Norris got substantially more second preference votes from Lib Dem supporters than Ken Livingstone. Why should it be any different this time?