If it was not for the YouGov poll on SkyNews taken during the day on Thursday we would be confidently predicting a victory for Steve Norris in the London Mayoral Election – the result of which will be announced later in the day. The BBC prediction based on the local elections results thoughout England has the following vote split:-
This is the first time that a governing party at Westminster has been forced into third place. The night was a good one for the Lib Dems and for the Tories. It was very bad for Labour.
Based on that we would be predicting a substantial Conservative lead in the London Assembly election with a big boost for Steve Norris that, with second preferences would take him to victory. The SkyNews YouGov poll, however, is making us much more cautious.
This was taken during the day and was not an exit poll. There is no certainty that those who responded did actually vote. The figures:-
With Second preferences:
This might sound as though it is clutching at straws but there are a number of factors to suggest that those who have followed our call should not give up hope yet.
Its figures for the London Assembly, taken at the same time has a Tory margin 8% over Labour compared with a national one yesterday, based on real votes, of 12%. By comparision, two years ago, in the London borough elections Conservatives beat Labour for votes in the capital even though nationally it trailed by 3%
Secondly did all those who took part in the survey vote? With a conventional exit poll voters are surveyed as they leave the polling stations so there is little doubt as to whether they have voted. This did not happen here.
Thirdly will there have been a differential turnoutbetween Tory and Lib Dem areas in outer London and Labour’s inner London strongholds? This happened to a big extent last time and was the poll programmed to pick this up?
And fourthly is the YouGov panel represensative in such a low turnout poll?People volunteer to go on the YouGov polling panel and get paid for filling in surveys on line. Could this skew the results to the more politically sophisticated? Certainly the poll results shows a lot of cross-party switching.
We said this was going to be very close when Ken was 21% in the polls. If he wins by 2-3% then we will regard our call as being justified. The numbers are very close and there are many caveats and all we can do it to wait. If Ken has held on it is an amazing personal achievement.
The betting, meanwhile, will continue until the result is announced. Party worker and activists will begin to get information about how the count is going during the day and the Betfair price board might be the place to look if there are any developments.
For the main political betting we suggest keeping out of the General Election, General Election date, Labour Leadership and Party Leaders markets until after next Sunday when the Euro election results will be announced.