Were the results of a secret poll behind the Boris betting rush?
Yesterday afternoon, while Labour was gathered in Birmingham for its spring conference, there was a big switch-over on the mayoral betting markets that now make Boris the odds-on favourite.
For the talk at the conference was of Ken facing a major challenge suggesting to me that there might be another secret poll which they are keeping very quiet about. Tessa Jowell’s assertion that the “race this time is closer than it’s been at any point since Labour gave London back its government eight years ago” smacked of panic. Normally party conferences are occasions when the leadership is upbeat.
It will be recalled that in response to YouGov showing Ken 5% behind on Tuesday the Mayor produced details from a private party study by MORI that had him just two points ahead.
Just look at this exchange of emails that I had on Tuesday evening with the head of political research at the firm – Julia Clark.
At 1656 I wrote:- “Dear Julia, Can you let me have details of the London poll that Ken has just revealed? In particular when was it carried out? Many thanks, Mike.”
At 1750 Julia replied: “Hello! We’re just trying to work out what exactly has been released, and will put up the relevant details within the required time period. I’ll drop you an email as soon as the details are up! Likely tomorrow. Cheers, Julia.”
In view if the size of the election and the suspension last month of Lee Jasper it would not be at all surprising if MORI had been contracted to test continuously public opinion in the capital.
It is Julia’s phrase “Weâ€™re just trying to work out what exactly has been released…” that is revealing. If there had been just one poll then, surely, she would not have had to check?
As I write at 0100 GMT Ken is at 1.02/1 on Betfair with Boris at 0.89/1.
The next couple of days on the site: I’m away and might be out of internet contact. Later this morning Sean Fear’s Friday slot will appear after a technical mishap stopped it being published at its normal time. Then, in the evening, Paul Maggs will be doing a piece on the Russian elections. A semi-open thread has been set up for tomorrow morning just in case Vodafone’s data coverage does not extend to the pub in the Peak district where I will be staying.