Why don’t Ken’s voters back him on the congestion charge?
By far and away the biggest political betting event in the UK this year is the London Mayoral election on May 1st. Five million people will be able to vote and the outcome will set the scene for the coming general election.
But as we’ve noted before – there has been almost no polling data on which to make predictions. We’ve had just one survey in 2008 and only 240 people expressed an opinion.
But details of another survey have just come out. It’s a private poll from ICM that was taken in January and seeks to measure response to what has become Ken Livingstone flag-policy, the London Congestion Charge and the plans to increase the daily fee to Â£25 for the most gas-guzzling cars. This might be clutching at straws but in a poll starved environment any data might be useful.
What could be significant is that ICM found that a majority of 2004 Livingstone voters were opposed to what has become his signature policy. If his own supporters won’t back him on this what does it say for his chances in May?
The Livingstone voters of 2004 think, by 55% to 38%, that the basic congestion charge of Â£8 is unfair. On the proposed Â£25 daily charge for gas-guzzlers 65% of Ken’s supporters four years ago thought the level was too high, 31% thought it “about right” and 2% said it was “too low”.
Yet when it comes to having to pay the charge 62% of the Ken supporters said they had never paid it, presumably because they do not take cars into central London, against just 1% who said they paid it every day.
It will be recalled that the mayor’s own congestion charge poll has become something of an issue. A week last Friday we reported on the decision of the British Polling Council to launch a formal inquiry into the refusal of Ipsos-MORI to make available the detailed data of a survey they had carried out on the issue. That is being withheld in apparent breach of the BPC’s transparency rules because the client, TfL won’t let it be published.
In contrast ICM’s full polling data was made available the day after the firm’s client, Porshe, had released some of the findings.
In the betting Ken continues to be the odds on favourite but Boris’s prices has tightened. I think this race is going to be very close and Johnson remains the value bet.