Can we rely on the views of just 240 people?
With just eleven weeks to go before Britain’s biggest single mandate election which involves more than five million voters the main candidates are today taking part in the first hustings. The winner will occupy what is probably the most power political post in the country with far fewer constraints than almost any other politician in central or local government.
If interest is anything like what we saw in 2000 and 2004 this fight will develop into a massive betting market – so far, however, activity has been pretty light.
The contest, of course, is between two major figures who are universally known by their first names alone – Ken and Boris. The Lib Dem, Brian Paddick, also has high name recognition after a long career in the Metropolitan Police.
Yet for punters there has been almost nothing to help in making a decision. Amazingly a total of just 339 Londoners have been surveyed this year in proper voting intention polls and of those just 240 expressed a preference. How can you take that seriously?
For whatever reason the sample in that poll was much smaller than anything we are used to and well below the minimum level that is regarded as acceptable. That YouGov should have allowed that poll to have been published at all was a disgrace.
In the meantime we have a had the drip drip of media investigations into the running of various bodies that fall within Ken’s remit. This has now extended well beyond the Evening Standard into the rest of the media.
So what is the state of opinion? Is Ken continuing to lead? Where is the betting value?
In the past week there has been an easing of Ken’s position as more money has gone on Boris. The latest betting has Ken as the 0.74/1 favourite with Boris on 1.56/1.