What is it about YouGov?
It claims to be one of the leading polling organisations, and has made huge profits for its founders. Perhaps that is because of canny knack of “discovering” just what its clients expect.
So we come to its polling for the Evening Standard on the London mayoral election. Over recent weeks, YouGov has been able to play to the Standard’s Kenophobia by showing vast leads for the Tory candidate. A month ago, after calculating second preferences, the gap was an astounding 14 percentage points: 57-43. Then, a fortnight ago, it was still 12: 56-44. Suddenly, a week back, it was down to eight: 54-46. Now, it has eroded to just six points: 53-47. Recently, that lead has been eroding, until, now, with just a week to go, the gap is more credible:
Johnson (Con) 44% (Down 1)
Livingstone (Lab) 37% (Down 2)
Brian Paddick (LibDem) 12% (Up 2)
Sian Berry (Green Party) 2% (Unchanged)
What is missing here (and, moreover, it is a telephone poll) is a confidence indicator. The Standard article does not give one, and — more surprisingly — nor does the YouGov source document seem to. Let us assume, however, that it is a 3% margin of error — and in view of the sudden shifts in this poll’s recent history, that has to be a valid assumption (either that, or the poll respondents are playing funny buggers). So that means the Tory candidate may lead by a stupendous 13% (which would suggest the earlier polls were correct), or by as little as 1% (which is in line with what the Guardian-ICM poll said earlier this month). That is also the finding of this week’s Mruk Cello poll for the Sunday Times.
More pertinently, perhaps, Andrew Rawnsley does a piece on Politicshome. This derives from a weekly tracker poll, PH100, using a panel of 100 political insiders. So watch this:
If the gap between the contenders continues to narrow along this trend, the Boris and Ken lines will roughly meet each other on May 1st. That, of course, just happens to be election day in London. This could be a nail-biter.
And Malcolm’s view?
It says a lot about the “sophisticated” London political scene that we are stuck with two “chancers” as the only credible candidates. Two of the also-rans, Brian Paddick and Sian Berry, seem at least house-trained. Both are refuges for a conscience-vote, knowing that it will all come down to second-preferences.
At the last, though, it is not a hard decision. Malcolm is repelled by the serial adulterer, the man who was sacked from his Party’s Front Bench, not because of his affairs, but because he blatantly lied about them. How can we take seriously a paltroon, who regards emotion that a 62-year-old man (Ken Bigley) is beheaded by an Iraqi death-squad, as “mawkish sentimentality”? What do you call a man who repeatedly betrays his wife, impregnates his girl-friend after lying to her about marriage, then talks her into an abortion? And is exposed for it by the girl-friend’s society-lady mother in the London scandal-sheets and even the Daily Telegraph? How is referring to “piccaninnies” with “water-melon smiles” not racist? It’s certainly racist enough to win the fascist BNP vote.