Boris was net 30 points ahead of Ken in the leader ratings
This is the first in a short series of posts looking at polling that highlights areas that could cause problems on May 7th. This one concerns the strength of the Labour brand when everything seemed lost.
Everybody knows that Boris pulled off a spectacular victory in the May 2012 London Mayoral Election when things were going badly for his party nationally.
Yet what has been largely forgotten is that the margin of his victory was smaller than any of the final polls had pointed to and the evening of the count proved to be quite exciting. All six pollsters had overstated Boris’s winning margin by between one and nine points.
As well as enjoying solid leads across the board on Mayoral voting intentions Johnson also led Ken by a wide margin in the leader ratings – a net 30 points with YouGov. This of itself raises issues about their usefulness in predicting vote shares.
How could it be that Ken/LAB was able to get as close as it did and is there a wider lesson about the resilience of the LAB brand?
We’d seen two years earlier at GE2010 how much better Labour performed compared with all the final polls. Interestingly those pollsters that reallocated don’t knows in accordance to a formula linked to what those voters had done the previous time came out best.
London, of course, has its own separate political micro climate and experience there might not be applicable to the country as a whole. But that they were able to get so close against a candidate with such cross-party appeal as Boris was an achievement.